Friday night brings us a Western Conference showdown as the Houston Rockets head to Phoenix to square off with the Suns. Houston enters the game with a 33-18 record and is 5.5 games out of first place in the West coming off Thursday night’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Phoenix comes in at 20-31, six games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth spot in the West.
Houston heads into the matchup fairly healthy, but with a question mark around one of its best players. Russell Westbrook is questionable with a sprained thumb.
The Suns have been ravaged by injuries of late, as their starters and reserves have taken a hit. Aron Baynes, Cameron Johnson, and Frank Kaminsky have all already been ruled out. Tyler Johnson, Ty Jerome, and Dario Saric are all day-to-day, but questionable nonetheless.
Here’s a betting preview of this matchup between potentially explosive offensive teams.
The Rockets have attempted and made more three-pointers than any team in the league this season. Unfortunately, they rank a mere 22nd in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage. One would think that their third-ranked two-point percentage would make up for part of that, but considering they shoot fewer two-pointers than anyone in the league, does it?
Apparently, it does, as, even with their mediocre three-point percentage, they’re in fourth place in the West. They sit 5.5 games behind the Lakers for the conference lead and three games behind the second-place Clippers.
They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, but if they want to catch the city of Los Angeles, their pace must improve headed into the All-Star break.
Phoenix started the season scorching, but their supernova has come to an end, so to speak. The Suns are 3-7 in their last 10 games. A big issue for the team has been winning games played on its home floor.
The Suns have only won nine games in Phoenix this season, sitting at 9-16 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Then again, they haven’t fared a lot better on the road either at 11-14.
The big plus of the season has once again been superstar-in-the-making Devin Booker. He’s averaging 26.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game this season.
Second-year center Deandre Ayton has improved his numbers from last season and is averaging 18.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. These two young men can ball, and the future is bright in Phoenix, but the present is a tad dim.
Spread It Up
This is one of those odd matchups where one team is outmatched, and of course, the team that’s outmatched covers more often. In this case, both teams have been fairly poor against the spread. Both teams cover 48 percent of the time. Houston is 24-26 against the spread, while Phoenix is 24-26-1. That’s interesting, to say the least.
At home this season, Phoenix is 10-15 against the spread. On the road, Houston is only 11-14. Houston is also 6-11 against the spread when it is favored on the road. Tip-off is set for 9 ET at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.