Phoenix Suns (22-55) v Houston Rockets (51-25)

<..."/> Phoenix Suns (22-55) v Houston Rockets (51-25)


Suns Lose in Portland Rout, Rush Home to Face Rockets

Dec 21, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Rockets defeated the Suns 125-111. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Rockets defeated the Suns 125-111. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns (22-55) v Houston Rockets (51-25)

Sunday 4/2/2017 6pm
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Fox Sports Arizona/NBAtv/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Houston leads 3-0 (Houston has NEVER swept the Suns)
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 107-98
Last Matchup – February 11, 2017 Houston won 133-102
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to the Portland Trailblazers 130-117
Rockets’ Last Game – Loss to the Golden State Warriors 107-98
Suns’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 107.2 (10th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 113.1 (30th of 30)
Rockets’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 115.3 (2nd of 30) Opp PTS/G: 108.9 (25th of 30)


There is no doubt that while the Suns have now stretched their current losing streak to eleven, that they are proving to still be a team on the rise. Recently facing off against several very difficult teams, each fighting for their playoff lives or positioning, the Young Suns are finding ways to stay in games, no longer are they being blown out, even when they find themselves down by what would normally appear to be an insurmountable deficit.

The method to their loss to the Blazers once again showed the resiliency of this young team, even with a common pattern re-emerging here tonight. Tied at four, two and a half minutes after tip-off, the Suns allowed a quick and decisive Blazers run, digging Phoenix a deep hole that would take a nearly 30 game minutes to nearly climb back out of. A 23-4 run gave Portland an early 27-8 lead with 5:04 left in the quarter, a lead that while the Blazers would never entirely relinquish, the lead itself was not entirely safe.

Portland would build their lead to it’s peak of 25 early in the second quarter, though the Suns would slowly chip away. Down 50-25 after two C.J. McCollum free throws with 8:47 remaining, the Suns would outscore the Blazers by 28-12 dragging themselves back to within eight with under a minute left. The Suns shot an incredible 12-13 in that stretch, making their first ten shots before a missed Ulis runner spoiled the perfect run. Phoenix shot a smoking 67.7% from the field in the second quarter including 5-5 from Marquese Chriss, with all 13 of his second quarter points coming in that run alone, and 4-5 from Booker with all nine of his period points coming in that span as well.

The second quarter opened up with the Blazers stretching their lead back out to 17, although the Suns would once again slowly turn the game around, and at the 9:55 mark in the fourth, the streaky Suns had managed to shrink the Portland lead down to 99-95 led by Alex Len’s 12 points in that stretch. Len would eventually foul out in only 15:46 playing time.

Unfortunately Phoenix was never quite able to get back over the hump and would not reach any closer. Portland would use a 13-0 run over the next 2:11 to stretch their lead back to a safe 17 points, the game would never again be in doubt.

In the loss Devin Booker tied Damian Lillard with 31 points to lead all scorers. In the process Book made 11 of 14 from the free throw line, although finished 0-4 from three. Booker finished oh for from three for the twelfth time this season, and second in six games.

The Suns finished 3-10 from the outside, their lowest attempts total of the year. Their three makes was second lowest, having made only two against Orlando in March, and the Clippers in January. Phoenix’s ten attempts were also the third least by any team in the league this season, the lowest being seven, set by Indiana against the Suns on November 18.

T.J. Warren scored 25 points, breaking the 20 point barrier for the third time in four games. Marquese Chriss recorded the Suns’ only double-double with 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, his third double-double of the year, and second in the last eight days.

C.J. McCollum finished with 29 points and both he and Damian Lillard (and Devin Booker) finished with 7 assists. Evan Turner came off the bench to score 18, which starter Noah Vonleh recorded Portland’s only double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.


In the Houston Rockets, the Suns next face a team who, by their standards, is reeling. Losers of three straight, their longest such streak of the year, the Rockets could not be facing anyone more opportune to help turn their team around. The league’s second leading scorer has been held in check averaging only 103.7 during this streak – two game of which came at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. Their most recent loss to the Warriors marked only the fourth game all year that they would fail to score 100 points, and the first time in 60 games, a span that stretched four months and nine days.

Facing Phoenix could be exactly what the doctor ordered as Houston averages the second most points per game against the Suns than any other opponent at 129.7, (they average an even 130 against the Los Angeles Clippers – in one fewer game). Houston’s 28.3 assists against the Suns is the fourth most they average against any team in the league, and the 17.0 three’s made they average against Phoenix is also tied for fourth most.

The games against the Suns have been such blowouts so early that James Harden actually averages the fewest minutes versus the Suns than any other team in the league, with 31.4. He still manages to score over a point a minute, however, racking up 33.0 points to go along with 5.3 rebounds, and 11.3 assists. His 42.9% three-point percentage is tied for fifth best against any opponent he has faced this season.

In fact, these matchups have been so unbalanced in Houston’s favor, the Suns have led for a total of 27 seconds, in all three games, a brief two point lead midway through the second quarter of the two team’s first head-to-head on December 21.

Three Interesting Stats

Phoenix Suns

1. Phoenix’s current 11-game losing streak is the third longest in franchise history. Their longest ever is 13 games first set from November 1 – November 26, 1996, then matched last season from January 26 – February 25, 2016.

2. The franchise has seven additional double-digit losing streaks in their history (10 total).
3/20/13 – 4/9/13
1/16/88 – 2/4/88
3/7/75 – 3/22/75
10/21/73 – 11/9/73
12/21/68 – 1/5/69
2/19/77 – 3/13/77
11/14/68 – 12/3/68

3. Whether you’re a fan of the tanking or not, Suns fans in general should be on streak-watch at the moment as the 13-game losing streak record is in jeopardy. Needing only two more losses to tie  the record, the Suns’ next two games are of course against the Rockets, and then the Golden State Warriors. Should the Suns fall in those two games (which should be expected, the potential record-breaking game would then come against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team who Phoenix only on March 3 defeated in the Valley of the Suns, where this matchup again will be. Minus Eric Bledsoe, the Suns will have a tough task at hand to prevent their names from being etched in the franchise record books as the roster with the most consecutive losses in franchise history.

Houston Rockets

More from Valley of the Suns

1. In their three prior games against the Suns, Houston has had peak leads of 25, 34, and 40.

2. Houston has jumped out to quick and early leads, averaging a 35.7-24.3 lead after one. Their scoring averages per quarter against Phoenix are:

First – 35.7 – 24.3
Second – 33.3 – 26.0
Third – 34.0 – 30.0
Fourth – 26.7 – 29.0

3. The Rockets have only lost two quarters against the Suns, the fourth quarter in each of the last two blowout loss games.