Phoenix We Have a Problem – In Houston, No Eric Bledsoe

Phoenix Suns (17-37) v Houston Rockets (39-17)

Saturday 2/11/2017 7pm
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Houston leads 2-0
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 107-97
Last Matchup – December 26, 2016 Houston won 131-115
Suns’ Last Game – Win over the Chicago Bulls 115-97
Rockets’ Last Game –Win over the Charlotte Hornets 107-95
Suns’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 106.5 (11th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 112.3 (29th of 30)
Rockets’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 114.2 (2nd of 30) Opp PTS/G: 107.9 (24th of 30)

 

Preview

This season the Suns have refused to go on a long slide or losing streak, similar to what they encountered on several occasions last season, including a franchise record-tying 13 game losing streak from late January to late February. With three losses in a row, and eight in their last nine games, the Chicago Bulls came to Phoenix last night fighting for their playoff lives. Phoenix ran them out of the gym. Playing in front of a nationally televised crowd for the second home game in two weeks, the Suns handled the Chicago Bulls nearly from start to finish with Devin Booker leading all scorers with 27 points. Phoenix is now 11-7 against Eastern Conference opponents. For a complete recap and opinions from last nights game, read here.

Against the Houston Rockets this season, James Harden and company have had their way, defeating the Suns twice by an average of 128-113. In fact, of the eight quarters the two teams have played, Phoenix has only won one.

However, Phoenix has played each of those games with a full compliment of players, but tonight will be missing several as Tyson Chandler will be out due to a sprained ankle, Dragan Bender will be out 4-6 weeks after ankle surgery to remove a bone spur, and Eric Bledsoe will rest this evening with a planned game off.

Tonight will be a great opportunity for Brandon Knight to show off against the speedy Houston Rockets, should he stay out of foul trouble. Knight is presumably on the trading block, and with the Suns having only three more games remaining before the trade deadline, with Bledsoe out, this game will be a great opportunity to impress any prospective teams.

The Suns are 4-5 this season on the second night of a back-to-backs.

 

Five Interesting Facts

Phoenix Suns

1. Tonight’s game will be the first of the season that Eric Bledsoe has missed. Last season the Suns were 11-40 without him and are 31-60 without him in four seasons.

2. Even though they shot over 50% from the field against Chicago, the Suns are 28th in the league with a 49.1% eFG.

3. After a 14 point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans, Devin Booker has now scored 20+ in two consecutive games. He has scored at least 20 points in 19 of 21 games.

4. The Suns are currently .3 assists per game worse than the Toronto Raptors, perfect for last in the league. The franchise has never finished last in the league in assists in its history, and in fact is in the midst of their 5th season in a row ranking in the twenties, a designation they had only achieved once before in 2003-04 – the season before Steve Nash’s return.

5. Alex Len will get the start tonight with Tyson Chandler out with a sprained ankle. Len has started in 10 games thus far this season and is averaging 9.8p, 9.5r and 1.8b on 58.0% shooting. In four games where he has played between 30-39 minutes (of which he started three) Len is averaging 14.5p, 12.3r, and 2.9b while shooting 62.9%.

 

Houston Rockets

1. The Rockets are 9-2 in their last 11 games against the Suns.

2. James Harden is averaging 13.0 assists vs Phoenix in two games this season, tied with Toronto for the most against any team he has faced at least twice.

3. Houston is currently second in the league in scoring averaging 114.2, a position they have held twice in the past four seasons prior to this year. The only time they have ever led the league in scoring was back in 1972-73 while averaging 112.8 points per game.

4. Harden has had 12 triple-doubles so far this season, his last coming on January 27 against Philadelphia, 7 games ago. If he misses out on a triple-double tonight it will tie his season-worst gap between triple-doubles which came in the first seven games of the season.

5. The Houston Rockets have already made 809 three-pointers this year, which is only 69 short of their total from last 2015-16. Their franchise record is 933 set in 2014-15 , a record they most certainly have their sights on.

 

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