The Houston Rockets drastically outperformed the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night 111-81.
Houston has been indubitably formidable at home, wherein the team currently stands 21-9 at the Toyota Center. The Suns, conversely, are now 7-26 on the road. This victory will be the starting point for the Rockets’ seven-consecutive home games.
The Rockets convincing win was fueled from six players finishing the game in double figures. Donatas Motiejunas led the team with a career-high 19 points. James Harden followed closely behind with 18 points. Houston overall shot 51 percent from the field, 48 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line.
“We were moving the ball, sharing the ball,” said Houston point guard Jeremy Lin, who had 13 points and six assists. “You could look across [the statistics] and see we had great distribution among the scoring. That’s usually a great sign of transition buckets, as well as sharing the ball offensively.”
Aside from their vastly superior attempts from both the perimeter and free throw line, Houston dramatically controlled the boards after outrebounding Phoenix 46-29. The Rockets also accumulated 26 assists, 10 steals, five blocks and 22 turnovers. On the other hand, the Suns collected a total of 20 assists, 13 steals, seven blocks and 20 turnovers.
The Rockets launched the first quarter with a 30-25 lead despite Wesley Johnson’s game-high 10 points. By the start of the second, the Suns appeared to be within reach of another potential upset over the Rockets. This particularly seemed plausible after Jared Dudley hit a 3-pointer to give Phoenix a 43-38 lead with 5:54 remaining in the half. Unfortunately for the Suns, those hopes quickly dwindled thereafter.
Houston proceeded to dominate the remainder of the second quarter following a 20-2 scoring run. By halftime, the Rockets had seized control against a lethargic Suns team 58-45. Although the two teams equally shot 71 percent, Phoenix was only able to reach the foul line seven times compared to Houston’s 21 trips. The Rockets additionally shot 50 percent from 3-point range, whereas the Suns made only 29 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Yet however disappointing the first half might have been for Phoenix, it was nothing compared to the Suns’ second-half performance. Simply put, the Rockets had no trouble dictating the outcome after outscoring the Suns 32-17 in the third quarter alone. After Houston sank 12 of 20 shots, Phoenix trailed 90-62 entering the fourth quarter.
“That’s probably the first time I felt we didn’t compete as a unit and that is just unacceptable,” Suns coach Lindsey Hunter explained. “It’s embarrassing.”
The Suns ended the game with four players in double digits. Johnson accounted for the team-high 15 points, only five of which came after the first quarter. Phoenix closed the game shooting 42 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-pointer and 70 percent from the foul line.
The Rockets will subsequently face the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, while the Suns will travel to Philips Arena to face the Atlanta Hawks. Both games will be on March 15.