Game Thread: Suns (9-2) at Rockets (6-4)

Suns 111, Rockets 105





After a brief stop home to beat the Raptors, the Suns are  — surprise — on the road again, this time for a tilt in Houston before a battle in New Orleans.

It’s been that kind of season thus far, with the Suns playing seven games in seven cities (including Phoenix) only to play just the one home game before starting this trip.

The good news for the Suns is that road has been where the heart is, with Phoenix starting out 5-2 away from US Airways Center, and here they are again after Sunday’s getaway win if you can even call it that. More like a stopover win.

“It’s funny how we keep saying that week after week, getaway game, getaway game,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “I just think we’ve got to keep trying to play well on the road.

“Actually we don’t mind going on the road early on because just like we’re trying to find ourselves, I think a bunch of teams are trying to find themselves, too, and if you’re ever going to have an opportunity to do it we can get as many road games out of the way as we can and then be in a situation where we can have some home games.”

The Suns will find a Rockets squad lacking star power, but that might not mean much after they went into Staples Center and handed the glitzy Lakers a 101-91 defeat on Sunday. Aaron Brooks was electric with a career-high 33, and Steve Nash must still have memories of the former Duck running circles around him the last time these teams met up in Clutch City when Brooks set the career high he just broke with 30 points.

The Suns may also have trouble with Houston’s hard-nosed front line of Luis Scola, Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes.

The star-less Rockets also boast a particular second-round pick I’ve seen a time or two who’s averaging 9.4 points per game, fifth best on the team. You all know I was hoping the Suns would snag him, and that man of course is former Wildcat Chase Budinger.

I’m really interested to see Chase for the first time as a pro. This is a guy who was the co-MVP of the McDonald’s Game with a guy who’s kind of a big deal by the name of Kevin Durant, yet perceived toughness issues (which I think are BS) caused him to slip to Round 2 (it’s just California cool).

I also hope we get to see Jared Dudley and Shane Battier lock horns in a battle of superstar “his box score doesn’t reflect his true value” guys. If a loose ball is ever in the vicinity of both these players, watch out.

The Suns are the more talented team, but if they take the Rockets for granted for even a second they’ll lose. With the start they’ve gotten off to, I don’t think they’ll do that.

And 1

Amare Stoudemire celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday.

When asked if he had any plans after Sunday’s game, he said, “Yeah, travel to Houston. That’s about it.”

A 10-2 start would be better than any Amare Stoudemire Birthday Bash ever could be. …

Gentry said Robin Lopez would be “ready to do a few things” when the team returns from this road trip. Gentry does not expect him back before December because he will still need to get in basketball shape.

“We’re not going to rush him back,” Gentry said. “We’re going to make sure that he’s healthy and ready to go.”

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