Game: Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Rockets +10.5, Suns -10.5
The Phoenix Suns are off to a tough start just one year after winning the Western Conference. They are 3-3 after their win on Monday night over the New Orleans Pelicans. Tonight, they welcome the young Houston Rockets to Footprint Center in Phoenix. The Suns have had to navigate some injuries, including Dario Saric’s ACL injury. Both DeAndre Ayton and Cameron Payne are listed as questionable for tonight.
Despite missing a few key players, the Suns still have a roster capable of beating anyone in the NBA on any given night. The backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul is one of the best in the league. Booker leads the Suns in scoring with 21.8 points per game. Mikal Bridges averages 16.3 and Paul scores 13 points and averages 11.4 assists per game. Paul just recently moved into third place all-time on the NBA career assists leaders list.
Phoenix can go deep into its bench too with Jae Crowder, Landry Shamet, and Cam Johnson plus JaVale McGee and Frank Kaminsky in the frontcourt. With Ayton out of the lineup in the win over the Pelicans, McGee scored 18 points and Kaminsky added 17. The Suns will need those types of performances from their role players tonight.
The Rockets have one of the youngest lineups in the league. There is talent there, but Houston lacks experience. It has showed thus far as Houston was losing games by an average of 15.8 points before their game against the Lakers on Tuesday night.
Tuesday night, the trio of Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, and Jalen Green combined to shoot 60 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind arc and total 70 points. The Lakers still won, but by a score of 119-117. That came just two nights after the Lakers held Houston to 85 points in a 95-85 win.
The Suns were one of the league’s better defensive teams a year ago. So far this season, they are just 14th in scoring defense. Houston is 23rd in the league in the same category. Where the Rockets fail is in turning the ball over. Houston leads the NBA in turnovers per game averaging over 20. The Rockets also play at an up-tempo pace. They are third in possessions per game. Cutting down on turnovers is a must for Houston if they wish to have any success tonight.
Houston hasn’t won a road game in its last 11 tries, but ironically the Rockets are 11-2 in their last 13 trips to Phoenix. The Rockets have also had success covering the spread recently. Houston is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games. Phoenix has only covered twice in six games this season. In their win over New Orleans on Tuesday, the Suns were a 10-point favorite and won by 12.
Both teams trend toward the Under this season. The total has gone Under in seven of Houston’s last eight games and in five of the Suns last six. The Under is also 4-1 in Phoenix’s last five home games.