Apr. 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (right) passes the ball under pressure from Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin in the first half at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Suns face surging Rockets


Feb 5, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns center Miles Plumlee (22) guards Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during the first quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 5, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns center Miles Plumlee (22) guards Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during the first quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coming on the heels of a blowout of the San Antonio Spurs the Suns face the Houston Rockets, in what will prove to be a tougher matchup against a team that is healthier than the Spurs were Friday night. The Suns dominated a Spurs team that could not keep up with the speed on the court. The 20-point blowout and a day’s rest will help with the Rockets coming to town Sunday night.

The 33-21 Suns host the 37-18 Houston Rockets who are coming into this game winning 8 of their last 10 games with those 8 being consecutive wins. James Harden is having another all-star season with 24.3 points per game average and Dwight Howard somewhat coming back into form with 12.7 rebounds per game average and 1.9 blocks per game average.

Key Matchup:

Goran Dragić versus James Harden. Dragić will need to push the ball at every chance and hope that they can employ the same tactic that worked against the Spurs on Friday night. The Rockets are getting a lot out of Harden who is coming off a 39-point performance Thursday night in a close loss to the Warriors. Dwight Howard only had 11 points and the rest of the team did little to add to that total.

Key stat:

Field goal percentage. The Suns will need to continue to shoot as well as they have coming off the mid-season break to beat the Rockets who have struggled as of late and have failed to get any production from some of the other guards on the team. Harden is having to carry the team on his back on the offensive side of the ball and it will be interesting to see how this will affect the Rockets going into the final stretch of the season.

What the Suns offense needs to look for:

Shooting from the beyond the arc. The Suns should try to shoot the Rockets out of the building. The Suns shot a terrible 20 percent from the 3-point line Friday night and will need to have a better night if they expect to beat the Rockets Sunday night. The Suns are 20-6 when playing with a day’s rest, 12-3 at home.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

Don’t let Harden beat you. Harden is having a great season and leading the Rockets to a solid record in the Western conference. Harden is averaging 26.4 points per game in his last 10 games. He’s also averaging 4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game this season. The Suns need to force the ball out of Harden’s hands and let the Rockets try to beat them with the other guards.

 

Houston Rocket sleeper to have a good game:

From time to time Jeremy Lin has offensive flashes of a couple of seasons ago when he was with the Knicks and fascinating sports fans with his unbelievable stretch that season but lately, it hasn’t come as often as he or the Rockets had hoped. Nonetheless, Lin is prone to those high scoring games and The Suns should be weary of his hot hand and make sure that he doesn’t beat them.

Prediction: The Suns beat the Rockets 110-105.

Tags: Basketball Dwight Howard Goran Dragic Houston Rockets James Harden Jeremy Lin NBA Phoenix Suns Popular Suns Suns Vs Rockets