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Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns game preview

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

I didn’t think any team could be as decimated by injuries as the Houston Texans were this season. They lost everyone to injury at some point this season and a few guys came back and got injured again. It was a cursed season if ever there was one.

The Houston Rockets aren’t there yet, and no one is out for the season (knocks on all of the wood in the entire world), but they are approaching Texans territory. Heck, the Los Angeles Clippers are playing with second round picks and 27-year-old rookies in their starting lineup because everyone is hurt on that squad.

The injuries continue to make Mike D’Antoni’s life a coaching hell. It’s a bit more palatable when you have Chris Paul and Eric Gordon, but the Rockets will still be missing:

  • James Harden
  • Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
  • Nene
  • Tarik Black
  • Troy Williams
  • Zhou Qi

Admittedly, Qi and Williams weren’t likely to play minutes either. And MDA has already said he’s probably not going to play Chinanu Onuaku tonight despite the lack of depth at center.

That leaves Houston with nine total available players, and if Briante Weber couldn’t get minutes against the Blazers and Onuaku probably won’t play tonight, MDA could be running a 7-man rotation. With Ryan Anderson in a humongous shooting slump, Trevor Ariza dropped zero points over 39 minutes against the Blazers, and PJ Tucker continuing to give Houston little on offense, it means that Houston’s offense will continue to depend on Paul, Gordon, Gerald Green, and Clint Capela. While those guys are great, you need more.

The Suns are coming off a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in which they dropped 114 points on one of the league’s best defenses. TJ Warren and Devin Booker combined for 49 points to lead the starters while Dragan Bender and Charlie Conway Pacey Witter Josh Jackson scored 20 and 17 points off the bench, respectively.

I expect the Suns to fight for a bit of revenge after the Rockets dropped 90 in the first half against them the last time these teams met (and was also on national television). Despite shooting woes lately, Booker continues to fill the stat sheet and is capable of dropping a lot of points in a short amount of time. Warren also has a great offensive game and has given Houston trouble over the last season-plus. Troy Daniels will also hit every three he takes tonight, I’m sure.

The Suns feature Tyson Chandler at center with Alex Len coming off the bench. While that’s not the scary prospect that other teams could throw at this thin Houston frontline, it’s also likely to be a focus for Phoenix. It’s imperative that Capela and Tucker stay out of foul trouble and that Houston defend backdoor cuts despite some likely fatigue.

Tip-off is at 9:30pm CT on ESPN