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Rockets vs. Suns game preview: Houston welcomes Chris Paul back to Toyota Center

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Two years ago, the Houston Rockets were coming off a disappointing Western Conference Finals exit. They pushed the eventual champion Golden State Warriors, but a key injury to Chris Paul and a bevy of missed three pointers (and some Scott Foster) conspired to dash Houston’s hopes of a third franchise championship. The Rockets re-signed Chris Paul to a 4-year contract for the maximum and committed to running the team back for another shot.

We’ve come a long way in two years.

Tonight, the Rockets will look completely different from that James Harden/CP3-led team. The only holdovers from that group are P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon. Harden was traded, CP3 was traded and then traded again, and Ariza signed elsewhere and has been traded 35 times since (all numbers approximate).

You may have heard that the Phoenix Suns went 8-0 in the Bubble. It’s been mentioned a couple of times. And by couple of times, I mean that it is required to be mentioned every time the Suns are brought up in conversation.

It seems the league did a bit of scouting on Devin Booker this offseason, as the Phoenix star has gotten off to a slow start. The conventional thinking was that Paul’s presence would push Booker into the top tier of NBA players. It may still happen (the season is still young), but for now Booker could really use a game against a team that is struggling defensively.

Oh, would you look at that.

Tip-off is at 8:30pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and ESPN