Phoenix Suns vs Houston Rockets

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Phoenix Suns visit the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, for a Western Conference matchup versus the Houston Rockets Wednesday night beginning at 9:30 pm EST. The Suns are favored by 5.5-points, down from 6-points at the opening, while the total stands at 219.5-points.

The Suns have suddenly dropped 2-straight games after falling to the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night as their leaky defense gave up 49% shooting in addition to 11 3-pointers while allowing a total of 7 double-digit scorers. In addition to this, the offense, despite shooting 45% from the floor along with hitting 15 treys, committed 18 turnovers in the contest, including 9 combined from point guard Chris Paul along with Devin Booker, who finished with 16 and 12 points. Furthermore, the Suns failed to cover as 5.5-point favorites as their record against the spread fell to 2-4 in their last 6 games, overall.

The shorthanded Rockets have dropped 2 of their last 3 since the James Harden trade after being unsuccessful on the road versus the Chicago Bulls Monday despite guard Victor Oladipo along with center Christian Wood dropping 30 points or more in addition to the team shooting over 50%. On the other hand, lack of defense was the culprit for the loss as the team allowed Chicago 7 double-digit scorers while surrendering 20 3-pointers in the 5-point loss. The Rockets also failed to cover as 2-point favorites, dropping them to 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.

And while Houston has won 9 of the last 10 games versus the Suns, Phoenix halted their losing streak in their last meeting February of last year with a huge, 36-point home victory while covering as 2.5-point dogs. In fact, the Suns are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 matchups versus Houston, including going 4-1 in their last 5 at the Toyota Center.

Suns’ defense nonexistent again in loss to Grizzlies

The Suns have not had many problems with consistency on the offensive end as the team ranks as one of the best in the league in shooting just under 47% from the field along with a solid 37% from long-range. Booker (22 ppg), despite halting a string of 7-games where he posted 20+ points in ending with 12 versus Memphis, continues to spark the team on this end of the floor in shooting 47% along with 35% from deep. Forward Mikal Bridges (16 ppg, 6 rebs, blk) continues to impress on both ends as he is not only become more efficient in the paint, but from the perimeter as well in connecting on over 44% of his 3-pointers in 2020.

Furthermore, center Deandre Ayton (13 ppg, 12 rebs, blk) has also been critical both offensively and defensively while being a beast on the board in collecting double-digits rebounding performances in all but one of his last 5 starts.

Add Paul (14 ppg, 9 ass), who has recorded 2 double-doubles in his last 3 starts, along with Cameron Johnson (12 ppg) to the mix and it is no wonder as to why Phoenix is 2 games above .500 on the year while currently being only a couple games behind the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers for 1st in the Pacific standings. However, just as their offense possesses a wealth of talent, it should be mentioned that the Suns have dropped 3 of 4 games entering this contest versus the Rockets, this primarily due to their lack of defense as the team has surrendered an average of 114 points per game during this time.

For the season, Phoenix may be ranked 5th in points allowed per game (107), but, they are also giving up 47% shooting (20th) in addition to 37% from long-range (16th). Memphis was able to connect on nearly half of their shots versus the Suns in their last time out while also hitting 42% of their long-balls. In addition to this, Phoenix had issues keeping guard Ja Morant from the basket as well as the free-throw line as he was able to go 6-8 in this area as the Grizzlies made 15 of 20 on the night. To make matters worse, the Suns have allowed an average of 114 points in their last 4 games versus Houston.

Rockets seek to avoid 3rd-straight loss

Without John Wall in the lineup due to a knee injury (and questionable for this contest), the Rockets were kept afloat by huge performances from Wood (30 points, 9 rebounds) along with Oladipo (32 points, 9 assists), who each had very efficient nights while the team shot 52% from the floor while sinking 17 treys. Wood is currently posting 24 points per game, 11 boards, along with 2 blocks per game thus far for the Rockets while making over 50% of his shots. Furthermore, he continues to stretch defenses with his ability to shoot 3’s (36%). Oladipo, on the other hand, made his debut on this night after being traded from the Pacers in a blockbuster deal that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

Eric Gordon (15 ppg) recently returned to the lineup after tightness in his leg to post 21 points on 9-17 shooting (3-7 3FG) while reserve Jae Sean Tate (9 ppg, 4 rebs) posted his 2nd double-digit scoring night in 3 games with 11 points and 8 boards. Aside from these players, the Rockets received very little scoring from the remainder of the team as starters PJ Tucker and David Nwaba combined for 9 points while reserves Ben McLemore and Demarcus Cousins, who also returned to the lineup after a sore right ankle, chipped in 5 and 2 points on a dismal 2-13 shooting night, with Cousins going 0-5 from deep.

In all, the Rockets possess a decent lineup if Wall (19 ppg, 5 rebs) is in the mix; However, with the guard being a question mark for this contest, the Suns certainly possess a huge advantage heading into this contest. Worth noting that Tucker and Gordon struggled in Houston’s last matchup versus the Suns posting just 6 points on 2-11 FG along with 0-6 from long-range in the blowout defeat. McLemore, despite finishing 1-5 3FG, posted 13 points, however, on 5-10 shooting.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Suns, despite an unsuccessful road trip thus far, is the better team in this instance as they are matched up versus a shorthanded Houston team that is attempting to figure out its identity without Harden in the lineup.  The Suns have also had tons of success versus the Rockets at the Toyota Center as of late while having covered in 4 of their last 5 road meetings.  In all, look for Phoenix to get things back in order before returning home for an extended home-stand as they will cover the points in this matchup.

Phoenix Suns -5.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

I like the under in this contest as it has been the play in 4 of the last 5 games amongst these 2 teams when squaring off at the Toyota Center.  Furthermore, Phoenix has really clamped down on opponents on the road as the under is 5-2 in their last 7 outings while being 4-0-1 in Houston’s last 5 home games.  Both teams have experienced issues on the offensive end as of late.  And while one should expect a back and forth affair in this contest, look for the total to fall below expectations in the end.

Under 219.5