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 PhoenixIt 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 upMany 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).
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Suns are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Suns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game.
- Suns are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- Suns are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Rockets are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Rockets are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall.
- Rockets are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite.