March 9, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley (12) drives past Phoenix Suns point guard Kendall Marshall (12) in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Phoenix Suns(23-54) vs. Houston Rockets(43-34)

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Imagine what it would of been like if James Harden was rocking purple and orange instead of red…Just a thought…

The Phoenix Suns will take on the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston tonight in what will be the third meeting between these two ball clubs.

The Suns held off the Rockets on March 9th at the U.S Airways Center by the final score of 107-105 however four days later, the Rockets would run the Suns out of Houston by beating the Suns 111-81.

The Suns have been one of the worst road teams this season with a 7-30 road record while the Rockets have been solid at home with a home record of 27-11.

“There’s no reason why to be positive,” former Houston Rocket Luis Scola said. “So how are we going to stay positive? Nobody should be positive. We have to work hard. The way we do it is we realize that we have problems and that we need to fix them.”

According to ESPN.com, the Houston Rockets are the favorites by a whopping 14.0 margin.

Houston has forwards Chandler Parsons and Carlos Defino listed as day-to-day, neither of them practiced yesterday and are questionable for tonight’s game. James Harden is listed day-to-day as well however he’s probable for tonight given he’s played the last three games.

Phoenix will continue to be without Marcin Gortat as he’s still recovering from his foot injury; Jermaine O’Neal is listed as day-to-day and he’s questionable for tonight’s game.

Keys to the game: Suns

  • Defend the three-point line. Houston can light a team up on any given night with their three-pointers, the Suns need to watch out.
  • Transition defense. Houston has three players in their starting line-up who can push the ball up the court upon rebounding the ball and ignite a fast break, Harden, Lin and Parsons.
  • Confidence! The Suns have lost 15 of their last 17 games and are losers of nine straight. The Suns will need to make some shots early for sheer confidence purposes which is something they probably don’t have a lot of right now.

Keys to the game: Rockets

  • Take care of the basketball. When Houston lost to the Suns in early March, it was mainly due to the excessive amount of turnovers. The Rockets coughed up the ball 21 times in that game which resulted in 28 points for the Suns.
  • Attack the boards! With Gortat out and possibly O’Neal too, the Rockets would be wise to send everyone to the glass as soon as the shot goes up. I would be astonished if the Rockets don’t out-rebound the Suns by 10 rebounds tonight.

The X-Factor!

  • Hostile environment! The Suns haven’t gotten a win on the road in 40 days…40 days! There’s something to think about……

Match-up of the night!

  • Goran Dragic vs. Jeremy Lin! Dragic may have turned it up as of late but the bottom line is, he’s had a disappointing season. I don’t believe one would argue that Dragic is a far better player than Lin but their numbers say otherwise.
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Tags: Houston Rockets NBA Phoenix Suns

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