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Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns game preview

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NBA: Preseason-Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the return of Chris Paul and literally nothing else matters.

I can see it now: Houston struggles to integrate Paul quickly and soon fans call for the Rockets to just stick the ball in James Harden’s hands and play the same offense as last season. After all, that’s what got Houston 11-4, so that’s what works. Right?

Wrong.

The Rockets didn’t get Chris Paul for the regular season. The Rockets didn’t get Chris Paul just so Harden could keep running the offense and piling up unimportant regular season wins.

The Rockets traded a chunk of their rotation for Paul because of April, May, and June. They aren’t concerned about November and December. They want to win every game, sure. They’re not trying to lose or anything. However, while 11-4 is well and good, that’s not why CP3 is here. He’s here to help the Rockets win a championship. That’s a near-impossible task that only has a prayer if he fully integrates into the offense by the time they playoffs roll around.

What I’m trying to say is that the Rockets are bound to lose some games that they could have won by playing the “Please do everything, James” offense that served them well last year. The point is that this process will take time, but will benefit the Rockets in the long run. Now we just have to hope for health.

The Phoenix Suns started the season 0-3 and promptly fired Earl Watson. Since then, they’re 5-7 win wins over the Jazz, Wizards, and Timberwolves.

Devin Booker is still the engine that makes the Suns go on offense. The third-year man out of Kentucky is averaging 23/5/4 on 45% shooting overall. He’ll be a tough matchup for Houston because he’s quick as well, which has been a problem for Trevor Ariza and the Rockets in the past few seasons.

T.J. Warren is probably my favorite player on the Suns. Much like Booker, the kid can fill up the hoop and drop 20 in a heartbeat. He’s gotten better each year he’s been in the league and is a 3-point shot away from completing his offensive arsenal.

The Suns also have quite a few “Oh yeah that guy!” dudes on their team. Tyler Ulis, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, and Alex Len are all rotation players. They have a Mike James, but it’s not the same one who had a couple of stints in Houston.

Finally, they feature the beta version of Clint Capela in Tyson Chandler, rookie stud and famous Mighty Ducks actor Josh Jackson, and some dude named Troy Daniels.

Interestingly enough, P.J. Tucker is playing a former team for the second game in a row.

Tip-off is at 9:30pm CT (ugh) on TNT (UGH)