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Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns game preview

The Rockets look to bounce back against the star-studded Phoenix Suns

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, tonight’s contest should be a loss for the Houston Rockets.

For one thing, the Phoenix Suns have a ton of talent. Specifically, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker give them a chance to win any game on their own. Together, they’re a scary prospect that understates their 14-15 record. Jusuf Nurkic should return after a personal absence that caused him to miss the Christmas Day game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Speaking of that game, the Suns led 102-98 with a little over nine minutes to go, and gave up a 30-12 run to lose by 14. The Suns of course have their history with the Mavs after a Game 7 egg a couple years ago (Rockets fans understand that feeling), so it’s probably a particularly painful loss for Phoenix. Therefore, we can expect Phoenix to come out a little pissed off. No one likes losing on national television in a showcase game.

Additionally, the Rockets are in a rough stretch of schedule, which seems to be every part of their schedule this season. It always evens out, but even in a seven-game homestand, things aren’t looking particularly nice right now. And of course, tonight is a back-to-back for the Rockets. Everyone deals with back-to-backs, so while it’s not an excuse, it is a reason.

Finally, the Rockets lose games in threes this season. It’s a well-documented phenomenon. The Rockets lost last night to the Pacers, they play the Suns tonight, and then the Sixers on Friday. Then they get Detroit after that. So, if I was a betting man I’d bet pretty heavily that the trend continues. I’m sure no one will call me a fake fan or something else in the comments.

Truly, this is a winnable game for the Rockets. Alperen Sengun is on a heater, and things have to turn around sometime for Jalen Green. With Dillon Brooks probably out, Houston will have to rely heavily on Jae’Sean Tate and Tari Eason to help corral Phoenix’s talismans (talismen?). The Rockets have struggled defending the three lately despite starting off the season well at defending the deep ball. Houston also has to figure out how to take more threes within the system they’re currently playing. The math problem is catching up to Houston, and it’s not Green’s fault alone.

Tip-off

7pm CT

How to Watch

Space City Home Network

Injuries/Other

Rockets

Dillon Brooks-questionable (abdominal)

Suns

Bradley Beal-OUT (knee)

Josh Okogie-probable (ankle)

Jusuf Nurkic-probable (personal)

The Line (as of this post)

Pho -1

Looking ahead because we can

Friday against the Sixers