I was fortunate enough to go to this game and watching them live is something else. This team is so exciting to watch on TV, and they are twice as fun live. They definitely give their fans their money’s worth and the win is the cherry on top. If you have a chance to catch a game at Toyota Center this season, please take the opportunity.
This team is exciting. They got out of the gates quick and lead wire-to-wire. James Harden led the team with 32 points and 12 assists. Harden was one of six Rockets in double figures on the night, and it could have been seven or eight players with Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer both scoring eight points. Countering from the Suns was Eric Bledsoe with 24 points and Brandon Knight with 21 off the bench. 2016’s 4th-overall pick Dragan Bender also had career-highs in points with 11 and rebounds with 13, leading to his first career double-double.
However, the star of the night for me was Houston’s beloved, granny-free-throw rookie Chinanu Onuaku, who made his NBA debut. Onuaku got eight minutes of action and looked like someone making his debut, but he did flash some potential as he grabbed three boards and scored six points. He also sunk both of his free throws, Granny style. Take notes Dwight.
The Rockets cruised and won by 16 but this game could have been won by 30+. Their biggest lead was 34 points, but at times, they saw themselves playing down to their competition. The Suns were incredibly sloppy. They did not play much defense and they took threes like they were the Rockets of last year. They could not make the shots they were taking. The Rockets committed 20 turnovers, and yes, Houston won by 16, but just because you’re up by a lot doesn’t mean you get to play as sloppy as the other team.
Houston will have games like this where they will be up big because they are playing a team that is clearly inferior to them, as was the case this evening. However, this cannot turn into a bad habit. The schedule gets difficult in January and the Rockets cannot be making these errors and turning these into habits. These habits need to stop.
Tomorrow night, Houston faces the Mavericks in Dallas. It’s a very winnable game, but the turnovers cannot catch up with them. If they can limit their mistakes, Houston will sweep Dallas for the first time since the 1997-98 season. Tipoff is at 7:30 CT.