The Western Conference foes will meet at the Toyota Center on Friday when the Phoenix Suns take on the Houston Rockets, looking to get their fifth win in seven games, while the hosts are hoping to return to the winning ways after the Golden State Warriors snapped their nine-game winning run. Houston has been dominant in the recent H2H duels as they won the last ten encounters including the previous four meetings at the Toyota Center, while the Rockets beat the Suns in the opening game of this season series, 118-110 in Phoenix. NBA: Friday, March 15, 2019, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, 7:00 PM ET
Phoenix Suns’ offense couldn’t cope with sturdy Utah defense
Phoenix was in a fine form of four wins in five games as they even managed to shock the reigning champions Golden State Warriors on the road, but the Suns failed to get a win against the Utah Jazz at home in the following game. The Suns now dropped to the 16-53 record and are still at the rock bottom of the Western Conference with even 26 wins behind their next opponents Houston Rockets, and 11 wins behind the Dallas Mavericks who are in the 14th place. Phoenix is the second-worst team in the league and they will likely end the season in the last place in the West but will have a top 3 pick in the NBA Draft this summer.
Devin Booker led the Suns in a 114-97 loss to the Jazz with 27 points, team-high six assists, and four rebounds; Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points and four boards, Tyler Johnson had 15 points and five rebounds, while Richaun Holmes chipped in with 11 points, five boards, and a couple of steals off the bench. Phoenix didn’t play well in the second and fourth quarter, scoring just 38 points and allowing even 64 in return, while Utah completely outjumped them with 52 points to the Suns’ 35.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 14, 2019
T.J. Warren (ankle) will remain on the sidelines for Thursday’s game against the Rockets and there is a possibility he will be shut down for the remaining games this season.
The Suns have the 24th offense in the NBA that averages 106.8 points per contest, while their defense is the 28th in the league as it allows 115.9 points per game. Phoenix’s rebounding is the worst in the league as they are recording 40.2 boards per game, while they are better when it comes to assists per contest with 23.9 dishes a night (18th). Phoenix is 17th in field goal percentage as they have 45.7 percent from the floor and 30th from downtown with 33.0 percentage, while they are 28th in the NBA with 9.6 three-pointers made per game.
Houston Rockets fell short to the Golden State in a close encounter
Houston was in an excellent form of nine consecutive wins but they failed to beat the Golden State Warriors who were playing without Kevin Durant, which makes this loss even more painful. The Rockets dropped to the 42-26 record and are in the 4th position in the Western Conference with four wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors and with three wins ahead of the Southwest Division rivals San Antonio Spurs. Houston will almost certainly make the playoffs but it’s going to be interesting to see whether they’ll finish the regular season in top four teams in the West and secure home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
James Harden led the Rockets in a 106-104 loss to the Warriors with a double-double of 29 points and game-high ten assists along with game-high three steals; Chris Paul followed him with 24 points and six rebounds, while Clint Capela posted a double-double of 13 points and game-high 13 boards. Houston was disastrous from beyond the arc, which is their most powerful weapon, making just 11 triples on 41 attempts (26.8%). Golden State was without Kevin Durant but that didn’t trouble the Warriors to dominate the boards (44-31) and assists (28-18).
.@JHarden13 finished with a double-double in last night's battle.
🏀 10ast pic.twitter.com/vAnFUFSEGN
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 14, 2019
The Rockets have the 12th offense in the NBA that averages 112.9 points per contest, while their defense is the 12th in the league as it allows 110.1 points per game. Houston’s rebounding is way below average as they are recording 41.6 boards per game (28th), while they are not better when it comes to assists per contest with 20.9 dishes a night (29th). Houston is 21st in field goal percentage as they have 34.8 percent from the floor and 17th from downtown with 34.8 percentage, while they are 1st in the NBA with 15.5 three-pointers made per game.
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a double-digit loss at home
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games played on Friday
- 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games played on Friday
- 7-3 ATS in their last ten games played at home vs. an opponent with a road winning percentage of less than .400
The Winner Prediction
Houston won each of the previous ten encounters including the last four at the Toyota Center, while the Rockets secured a win in the opening game of this season’s series. The Suns are 20-7 ATS in the last 27 meetings in Houston, which could be a concerning fact for the bettors who would like to back the Rockets. However, Houston will be highly motivated to bounce back from the latest defeat to Golden State and they will not drop a win in this one. The Rockets are still in the race for some of the top four places in the Western Conference and they cannot afford to play with their fans’ nerves, and I am backing them to cover the -13 spread.
The Pick: Houston Rockets -13 (-110)