When the Rockets beat the Miami Heat back in late November, they started a trend of “win 2, lose 1” that has continued into late December. Four times this sequence has occurred, which means that in keeping with tradition the Rockets are on pace to lose this game.
The top of the Western Conference has established a general tier system at this point. The Lakers stand ahead of everyone at the moment, then there’s a gaggle of five teams fighting to be the next best team in the West. If Houston wishes to move up in that group, they will need to finish December strong, and the schedule is set up to allow for that.
The Phoenix Suns got off to a hot start, but have since cooled down a bit. At 11-16 entering Friday night’s game against the Thunder, they are one game out of the playoff spots and have lost four straight. The good news for Phoenix is that they have gotten Deandre Ayton back from his 25-game suspension following a violation of the anti-drug policy. He had a strong showing in his return against the Clippers with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr. are the other scorers for the Suns. Booker is questionable with a forearm injury but the guess is that he’ll play tonight. He was already a good shooter but his numbers are even better this season and he’s currently sitting on 51-41-90, which is amazing.
As mentioned above, this is a game Houston needs to find a way to win. Houston should be favored in each of their last six games of 2019 and if they want to move to the head of the class, they have do a bit better than “win 2, lose 1.”
Tip-off is at 8pm CT on NBA TV