Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#535 Phoenix Suns 239.5 vs.
#536 Houston Rockets -11
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 8:05pm EST
Toyota Center, Houston
Written by Sporty Jordy

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W/L
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#535 Phoenix
#536 Houston
10-11
14-7
36-46
47-43-3
38-44
43-46-4
107
113
116
108

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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: December 7, 2019, Toyota Center, Houston, TX, 8:00 PM ET

Fresh off a scintillating overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Phoenix Suns head on the road on Saturday for a Western Conference showdown with the Houston Rockets. Star guard Devin Booker answered the calls for him to be more aggressive on offense with a 44-point performance that lifted the Suns past the Pelicans. Meanwhile, the Rockets bounced back from a loss to the San Antonio Spurs with a 119-109 win over the defending champion Toronto Rockets.

Another big man down for Phoenix

It has already been an unfortunate season full of injuries and failed drug tests for the Suns. Center Deandre Ayton is still serving out a 25-game suspension for testing positive for a diuretic, while Aron Baynes has been sidelined again with another injury. The Suns somehow still managed to power their way through the Pelicans short-handed.

They could be forced to do the same on Saturday against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Suns slipping defensively is setting the stage for a nightmare showing against a Rockets team featuring both James Harden and Russell Westbrook. They rank 19th in the league in efficiency, along with allowing the sixth-highest field goal shooting percentage (47.3) to opposing teams.

It has been nothing more than the Devin Booker Show for the Suns. He recently exploded for 44 points against the Pelicans to net his team a victory. There is no doubt this game will ultimately come down to his ability to hang with Harden and Westbrook on offense. Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. must do his part to take some of the pressure off Booker and help match a Rockets team that ranks second in scoring offense.

Harden and Westbrook heating up

Many were skeptical of the superstar team-up between Russell Westbrook and James Harden even working in Houston. How in the world was a pair of ball-dominant players going to co-exist with one another within the same offense?

Just turn on the television.

Granted, it’s ugly sometimes with the offense looking mostly inefficient. But other times, however, it’s like poetry in motion seeing two of the best guards in basketball playing side-by-side and giving opposing defenses a hard time. The Suns will be next on that list after allowing an average of 121.3 points per game in their last three outings. Houston currently ranks third in the league in offense, and their scorers will have a clear lane to attack the basket with both Baynes and Ayton likely out for the game. Things could get ugly in a hurry with the Suns likely switching to more small-ball.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, the narrative remains the same on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 14th in the league in inefficiency with opposing teams scoring 115.2 points per game against them. Even without Ayton and Baynes on the floor, the Suns have some offensive ballers that are capable of getting hot quick. They rank top-10 in field goal percentage (46.3) and 3-point shooting (36.5).

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This is the one game where the absence of Phoenix’s rim protectors is going to hurt.

Westbrook and Harden have made careers out of putting the ball on the floor and driving to the basket. They will be able to walk through the lane all they want on Saturday without fear of Ayton and Baynes lurking in the paint.

Booker will have a tremendous game against a generous Rockets defense, but his supporting cast won’t be able to match the prolific scoring numbers from Harden and Westbrook. The Rockets are also the fifth-best rebounding team in the league, setting the stage for plenty of second-chance shot opportunities.

One can only imagine the number of easy put-backs as the Rockets’ players eat up easy buckets in the paint all night long. It’ll be interesting to see how the Suns fare when they have their entire roster at their disposal. But that won’t be the case on Saturday in a game that will get out of hand quickly. I’m laying the points and taking the Suns.

Prediction: Houston Rockets (-10)

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Things are about to get ridiculous on offense.

The Rockets are already one of the best pure offensive teams in basketball. That lone fact will be magnified by Baynes and Ayton not being on the floor. Westbrook and Harden will have a free pass to attack the basket whenever they want. But there’s also the fact that the Rockets still aren’t very good on defense.

The Suns might be without their towering centers, but they still have the firepower to light up the scoreboard at a moment’s notice. That moment will come on Saturday against a Rockets team allowing the sixth-most points to opposing offenses. I like the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (241.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.