With the loss, the 1-12 Rockets ended their three-game homestand winless before embarking on a four-game road-trip starting Monday in Memphis.
It was a near wire-to-wire victory for the Suns, who extended their winning streak to nine by defeating the Rockets. Houston’s only lead of the night came at the 10:36 mark of the first quarter when Daniel Theis put the Rockets ahead 4-2 following a 23-foot jumper.
Devin Brooker tied the game with a mid-range basket and gave the Suns a lead they never relinquish following a triple on Phoenix’s next possession.
The same issues that plagued the Rockets through the first dozen games of the season continued against the Suns, but in some cases were more abysmal. The Rockets had a rough time taking care of the ball during the first half, where they committed 17 of their 23 turnovers.
If not for their inability to take care of the ball, perhaps the Rockets losing streak could have ended against the Suns. Despite their high number of turnovers, the Rockets remained in the game trailing 51-44 entering the halftime break.
Houston’s seven-point deficit at the half was a testament to their perseverance after falling behind by 13 points midway through the first quarter. The Rockets had no answer for Booker, as the Suns’ All-Star guard torched Houston for 16 first-quarter points. Brooker ended the night with a game-high 26 points.
But similar to the way the Rockets had a tough time containing Brooker, the same could be said about the Suns’ inability to defend Christian Wood during the first half. After averaging 10.6 points over the previous three games, Wood scored a team-best 17 points in the loss — but 14 came during the first 24 minutes of the game.
Eric Gordon and Alperen Sengun each gave the Rockets an extra spur off the bench. Sengun put together arguably his best NBA game, recording 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench — his first career double-double. Gordon added 12 points in 22 minutes.
Houston’s young backcourt struggled against the Suns. Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green scored a combined 24 points, while connecting on 9-of-29 shot attempts.
Following the loss, the Rockets will begin a four-game road trip against the 6-7 Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Inside the FedEx Forum in Memphis, the Southwest division showdown will be the first of four meetings of the season between the two franchises.