After puffing up on a stream of patsies, it’s back to work tonight for the Suns when the Rockets come to town to start a brutal stretch.
A relatively easy game in Sacramento follows, before Phoenix faces the gauntlet of Pistons, Jazz, Lakers and Blazers in its next four.
I’m interested to see how the Suns fare against a revamped Houston team that I think will finally get out of the first round of the playoffs this year thanks to the Ron Artest deal.
The Rockets’ big three of Yao, T-Mac and Artest is formidable – and it seems like you need a dominant big three to win in this league unless you have Michael Jordan – and they have a second wave of depth, which could mean for another blown lead for the Suns’ bench sometime this game.
I love how the Rockets have assembled this roster with management that’s the closest thing the NBA has to an Oakland A’s-style Moneyball team, as their VP of basketball operations Sam Hinkie only cares if a shot should go in rather than if it actually does.
In the playoffs, this should be a devastating team because you have a pair of lockdown defenders on the perimeter in Artest and Shane Battier, a dominant center in Yao, all that depth and then a superstar in T-Mac – unless the latter item is a bad thing knowing his playoff history.
I see the Suns fighting with the Rockets for a home court playoff spot, so although it’s only November this game could be huge down the road for tiebreaker purposes.
This contest will also mark the first time I’ll be heading down to US Airways Center to take in a game live. My dad got some great seats from his office, so I’ll be sitting in the fifth row, close enough to hit Artest with a beer if he gets into things with Raja.
But I think that might not be the best idea in light of the Malice in the Palace.