Dec 4, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns shooting guard Goran Dragic (1) drives the ball during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Suns defeated the Rockets 97-88. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Suns travel to Houston to face Rockets

Apr. 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) drives to the basket against Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin in the first quarter at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Apr. 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) drives to the basket against Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin in the first quarter at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns came out flat and let the Chicago Bulls set the tone early in a 92-101 loss. The Suns looked flat and disconnected all night. They managed to have a first-half-high nine turnovers Tuesday night when they have been averaging 15.1 turnovers per game this season. In one of the few positives from Tuesday night was the continued strong play of Goran Dragić who finished with 24 points and 7 rebounds.

The 29-19 Suns are at the 32-17 Houston Rockets Wednesday night. The Rockets are coming off three days of rest and a win Saturday night against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. The Rockets are fourth in the league in scoring. They are averaging 105.1 points per game on the season. The Rockets have won five of the six games at home.  Up to this point they have managed to successfully work Dwight Howard into the offense.

Key Matchup:

Miles Plumlee versus Dwight Howard. Howard is fitting in well in Houston up to this point. In his last 10 games Howard is averaging 18.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game with a 57.4 field goal percentage. Plumlee will have to do his best to keep Howard from getting inside positioning early in the game. Plumlee has not had the offensive production he was showing earlier in the season averaging only 7.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He will need to start producing on the offensive end to give Phoenix a chance to make a strong run in the second half of the season.

Key stat:

Fast break points. The Suns continue to be tops in the league in fast break points averaging 18.6 fast break points per game. Away from home the Suns are fourth overall with 15.9 fast break points per game. Wednesday night the Suns can continue this trend against a team that makes a lot of mistakes on the offensive side. Creating fast break points off of these turnovers will be the key to the game for the Suns.

What the Suns offense needs to look for:

Let it rain. The Suns are tenth overall in the league from the 3-point line. The Suns should look to utilize this offensive weapon early and often to create opportunities for penetration later on in the game.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

Turnovers. The Houston Rockets are in the top three in the league in turnovers averaging 16.1 per game this season. The Suns can help this along by being aggressive on the defensive end of the ball. If the Suns can cause problems on that end they can look to creating more offensive opportunities for themselves.

Houston Rocket sleeper to have a good game:

Jeremy Lin recorded a triple-double Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 29 minutes of game time. Lin had an impressive 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on the night. Lin had a plus-minus of plus 19 and will be someone the Suns must keep an eye on. Letting a bench player like Lin get that many points can put any team in a bad position defensively.

Prediction: The Suns beat the Rockets 103-97 in a tough game.

 

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Tags: Basketball Dwight Howard Goran Dragic Houston Rockets Jeremy Lin Miles Plumlee NBA Phoenix Suns Suns

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