The Rockets cruised to their 40th victory of the season behind James Harden’s 40 points in their win against the Suns, 133-102. The Rockets never trailed and had a lead as big as 40 points. The number 40 was a common theme in tonight’s contest.
The Rockets came out of the gates strong and took advantage of the Suns’ sluggish start. Phoenix came off a win last night at home against Chicago, and did not get to their hotel in Houston until 4 AM Saturday morning. They lost an hour in their day but the Rockets showed them no mercy. The game started off 13-0 for the Rockets and they never looked back.
The first half was a spectacular scoring display. Their 77 first-half points were a season high. The team shot 56.8% from the floor, made 23 of 29 free throw attempts, and made 12 of their 21 threes. Their high percentage had a lot to do with Phoenix’s perimeter defense, which was abysmal. They were definitely fatigued from their game last night and their travel plans, and not to mention, the Rockets are definitely a superior team. The Suns were also without two starters in Eric Bledsoe and Tyson Chandler.
Along with Harden’s 40, Patrick Beverley was very impressive in the win, recording 19 points and 10 rebounds. Other double-digit scorers included Ryan Anderson with 16 and Sam Dekker with 14. Ariza, Capela, and Brewer all had 9 each. The whole team was able to pick up Eric Gordon’s load. Gordon was out for the second straight game with a sore back. His status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain.
The game was virtually over before it began. The only way Houston could have lost this game is if they simply failed to show up, but instead, they took advantage and a win they should have taken home. When you are in the playoff picture, every win counts, and the Rockets cannot afford to drop games they should not. They took care of business tonight and with the Utah Jazz’s loss, the Rockets are now five games ahead of them for the third seed in the Western Conference, and they sit just three games behind the Spurs for the second seed.
Houston has just one more game before the All-Star Break against the Miami Heat, who had their 13-game win streak snapped tonight by the Philadelphia 76ers. A win on Wednesday would match their win total from last year, and it’s only mid-February y’all! Tipoff on Wednesday is at 7 PM CT.