Time: 9 p.m. ET
Venue: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Where to watch: BSAZ, ATTSN-SW
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Suns -11.5
FanDuel: Suns -11.5
BetMGM: Suns -11.5
Caesars: Suns -11.5
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Rockets - Suns preview, prediction and analysis
Rockets: lost 2 straight at home to Nuggets; the latest was a 120-100 result
Suns: won 6 straight; won 132-113 vs. Bulls on Wednesday
The Houston Rockets are right about where we expected them. Houston is a young team that is capable of scoring some points, but giving up a bunch in the process. That’s to be expected in the early stages of what’s going on in Houston’s rebuild. They can continue to lose and continue to put talent around Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. as the cornerstones, while other young guys like Alperen Sengun continue to develop into unearthed gems that are a walking double-double.
The Rockets are coming off back-to-back losses at the Denver Nuggets this week. Not a surprise they were both by close to 20 points, because again, this group can’t defend. They’re in the bottom-third giving up 116 points per game. Jalen Green is having a great second year, however, averaging 21.3 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 21 games. Kevin Porter Jr. remains a great backcourt mate with him averaging 19 points and 6 assists per game.
The biggest surprise has been Sengun, averaging 15.5 points and 9 rebounds in just 26 minutes a night. He has great post moves and makes things look effortless around the basket. Some are calling him “Baby Jokic” and the comparables are there. If Houston has found itself a frontcourt of the future with Sengun and Smith, it might be bright spots galore with Houston. Now if they can just defend, because Friday won’t be easy.
“Against teams like this, Phoenix and Golden State, you can’t just ease into these games,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said.
We’ve been waiting for a team to take over the Western Conference for about a month, and I think we’ve found it with the Phoenix Suns. Without Chris Paul, the Suns have finally found their potential and it’s all thanks to Devin Booker.
The Suns’ MVP – and likely MVP finalist to this point – is coming off dropping 51 points in three quarters during a 132-113 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. It wasn’t just a typical 51-point game where Booker took a bunch of shots to get there. Booker went 20 of 25 from the field, 6 of 7 from 3-point range, to go along with 6 assists and 4 rebounds in what was an all-around dominant effort.
“It’s the best,” Booker said about the home crowd. “I don’t know how many sellout crowds that is in a row, but it’s impressive. Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. They show up and show out.”
Booker said he felt like he was shooting at a double-sized rim and if you don’t believe him, you might want to think about sending two or three his way. He can make any shot thrown at him, any attempt he wants to take. No matter what, it’s going in.
Given Houston’s defense, it wouldn’t shock me to see them go hard at Booker but him kick it out to the open guy. We’ve been waiting for a top team in the West. It might be Phoenix. Suns by 10
Rockets are 151-102 ATS after losing 4 or 5 of their last six since 1996.
Rockets are 132-92 ATS on the road after 2 straight losses since 1996.
Suns are 119-88 ATS overall the last 3 seasons.
Suns are 63-45 ATS at home the last three seasons
Projected starting lineup
PG: Kevin Porter Jr.
SG: Jalen Green
SF: Eric Gordon
PF: Jabari Smith Jr.
C: Alperen Sengun
PG: Cam Payne
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Torrey Craig
C: Deandre Ayton
Suns: Chris Paul (heel, out), Cameron Johnson (knee, out)
Points: Jalen Green – 21.3
Rebounds: Alperen Sengun – 9.1
Assists: Kevin Porter Jr. – 6.0
Points: Devin Booker – 29.0
Rebounds: Deandre Ayton – 9.8
Assists: Chris Paul – 9.4
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