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Recap: Houston Rockets 88 - Phoenix Suns 97

The Rockets fly too close to the Sun and despite all the technology involved in atmosphere entry protection they still burn up because the Sun is too hot. I probably should have just gone with a cliché on that one.

Suns play some fantastically mediocre ball and beat the fantastically disinterested Rockets.


So Chandler Parsons for MVP? Because it appears we cannot win without him.

This team looked terrible tonight. The Rockets were really hurting for some healthy servings of Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin, so Aaron Brooks and Omri Casspi did their best impressions but it wasn’t enough.

The Skinny:

It was a grind-fest from the start and both teams were trying to play from the post. Houston tossed it down to Dwight Howard repeatedly while the Suns gave Channing Frye a lot of early possessions.  On a possession to possession basis it was really more of a ‘who can hustle more’ type of game because neither team was executing. The hustle of the big men kept us in it but the lack of execution kept us from ever creating a lead.

Another main story line for the night was the play of PJ Tucker. He wore James Harden like a glove and in response, James tried to stay away from him and took a number of long threes. Tucker forced Harden into 3-17 shooting and 0-10 from three.

The entire Rockets team struggled shooting (35%) despite getting quite a few open looks. For a while it wasn’t a drastic situation because the Suns were also missing shots and looking pretty foolish. However about 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter, they started to hit their stride. Tucker took the ball directly at Harden and he couldn’t find the energy to stop him.

Then two more themes started to become clear.

  • The refs were not going to allow Howard to “dominate” like Shaq and Barkely like to claim he should do.
  • Aaron Brooks was going to try his damnedest to replace all the missing scoring.

I don’t know if Dwight has changed or if the reffing has changed but I don’t understand how anyone could dominate while being double-teamed by both the refs and the defense. They continue to punish him for being strong and it is starting to make me foam at the mouth.

Aaron Brooks didn’t have his best night but it wasn’t from a lack of effort. He did everything he could to penetrate into the lane and use some of that beautifully sweet spin to gently kiss the ball off the backboard for some buckets but it was tough trudging inside.

The Suns decided that the Rockets’ stars were not going to beat them tonight and that’s exactly what they accomplished. If by some miracle Harden got past Tucker, the Suns big men would hedge in and really just envelope Harden. Like wise, every time Howard spun his way to the rim there would be two or three Suns waiting.

The 2nd half started with a puzzling but effective line up. Mchale led with Harden, Brooks, Beverly, Dwight and Casspi. Terrence Jones had actually played pretty well up until then but he got pulled anyway. Kudos to Mchale though because the smaller lineup got them back in the game. Unfortunately there was never a run that was great enough to get the Rockets a lead. Every time they inched close, the Suns would make a few nice plays to extend it.

The Rockets poor shooting continued all the way through the 4th quarter and that was all she wrote.

Rockets play again on Friday at 7 PM against the Golden State Warriors. Hopefully with Chandler Parsons this time.

The statistical knitty gritty is here.

Tags: Houston Rockets

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