It’s a battle of Western Conference teams on the hardwood in the Valley of the Sun. The Houston Rockets are on the road as they make the trip to face the Phoenix Suns Monday night. Houston was dropped 125-109 on the road by the Warriors Saturday night in their previous contest. Phoenix walloped Washington 134-106 at home Saturday night in their most recent action. In the all-time regular-season series between the teams, the Suns own a narrow 110-108 advantage and have taken the last three meetings. That includes a 133-130 road victory in the most recent matchup on April 5.
Houston Rockets Trying to Avoid Western Conference BasementHouston dropped their second straight and their seventh in the last eight games as they were dumped by Golden State on the road. The Rockets are in the basement of the Southwest Division, 16 games behind the Mavericks for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team is 14th, 11 games behind the Warriors for the final spot in the expanded playoff field. Against Golden State, Houston was within two after the opening quarter before things came apart. The Rockets were outscored 33-18 in the second quarter to trail by 17 at the half and couldn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way, with that coming with 1:58 to play. Houston shot 46.6% from the floor, including 13 of 37 from three-point range, and allowed Golden State to shoot 53.8% in the game. John Wall led the Rockets with 30 points and seven assists in the loss.
The Rockets enter this contest 24th in the league with 107.7 points per game on the season. Houston is 27th in rebounding by collecting 42.3 boards a night while they are 25th in assists with 22.9 dimes per contest. The Rockets are 24th in scoring defense as they give up an average of 114.2 points per game on the year. Christian Wood leads the team with 20.9 points plus 9.3 rebounds per game this season. John Wall (20.8 points, 6.8 assists), Kelly Olynyk (11.3 points, 6.4 rebounds) and Eric Gordon (17.8 points) are the other players averaging in double figures. Ben McLemore, Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, Mason Jones, Dante Exum, David Nwaba, Jae’Sean Tate (10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds), Danuel House Jr., Kevin Porter Jr. and Justin Patton are key pieces of the rotation as well for coach Stephen Silas. Houston is 29th in field goal percentage as they shoot 44% as a team from the floor. The Rockets are 10th in threes per game as they knock down 13.5 triples a night and stand 30th in three-point shooting by hitting 33.6% from beyond the arc. Exum remains in a walking boot after straining a calf muscle on January 5. Gordon is out four to six weeks with a groin strain. Nwaba (wrist) is out indefinitely while House Jr. (ankle) missed Saturday’s game and will need to be monitored for this contest.
Phoenix Suns Seek Third Win of Season vs. RocketsPhoenix bounced back from a loss to the Clippers as they walloped the Wizards for their eighth win in nine games Saturday night. The Suns entered Friday with a two-game edge over the Clippers in the Pacific Division race. In the Western Conference standings, the Suns are second, 2.5 games behind the Jazz for the top spot and 7.5 games clear of seventh-place Dallas to ensure a guaranteed playoff spot. Against Washington, Phoenix was in a close game for a half before taking care of business in the second half. The Suns trailed by two after the opening quarter, led by two at the half and then buried the Wizards with a 44-24 edge in the third quarter to break the game open. Phoenix shot 51.4% from the field, including 17 of 43 from three-point range, and turned the ball over just three times in the contest. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win.
The Suns enter this contest 7th in the league in scoring offense as they average 114.8 points per game on the year. Phoenix stands 21st in rebounding with an average of 43.5 boards per contest while they are 3rd by dishing out an average of 27.2 assists per contest. The Suns are fifth in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 107.8 points per game this season. Devin Booker leads the team with 26 points per game this season. Cameron Johnson (9.8 points), Mikal Bridges (13.3 points, 4.7 rebounds), Chris Paul (16.2 points, 8.7 assists), Deandre Ayton (14.9 points, 10.8 rebounds) and Jae Crowder (10 points) are good offensive weapons. Dario Saric (9.7 points), Torrey Craig, Cameron Payne, Frank Kaminsky and Langston Galloway are solid contributors in the rotation. Phoenix is 3rd in field goal percentage by shooting 49% from the floor as a team on the year. The Suns are 13th as they knock down an average of 12.9 three-pointers a night while the team is 9th as they splash 37.7% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Rockets are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 Monday games
- Suns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- Suns are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- Suns are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Monday games
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a matchup of teams at completely opposite ends of the standings when you get right down to it. Houston has struggled mightily and they are potentially missing several key rotation pieces for this contest as well. The Rockets are lousy on the road and have to travel to face a Phoenix team that is hot with eight wins in their last nine games. Phoenix has played well at home and they have a ton of depth to work within their rotation. The addition of Paul to the mix has made things that much better for the Suns and facing a Houston team with nothing to play for gives them the upper hand. Phoenix wins this one convincingly.
Full-Game Total Pick
Houston is fifth in the league in tempo as they average 101 possessions a night on the season. Unfortunately for the team, it hasn’t helped them put up a ton of production on that end of the floor as they are second-worst in the league in field goal percentage. As it stands, the Rockets are 22nd in the league in field goal percentage defense (47.1%) on the year. Phoenix has played some solid defense this season, which is surprising given their struggles on that end of the floor in recent seasons. The Suns are relying on that defense as their offensive production hasn’t overwhelmed anyone this season despite the ability of having a variety of guys that can step up offensively. Phoenix is 26th in the league in pace with an average of 97.3 possessions a night. We saw Phoenix explode for 134 points against a Washington team that is terrible defensively and plays at a fast pace. Seeing that makes one think that this one ends up over the total.