Rockets-Suns Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 09, 2013
The Houston Rockets are looking to continue pulling away in the Western Conference playoff race, and having all four of their season meetings with the last-place Phoenix Suns remaining should certainly help. Chandler Parsons will try to keep the Rockets rolling Saturday night when they face the short-handed Suns for the first of back-to-back games. Houston (34-28) overcame one of its worst shooting performances to defeat Golden State 94-88 on Friday. The Rockets connected on just 36.5 percent from the floor, but they had 11 steals while holding the Warriors to 37.9 percent shooting to win for the third time in four games. "We definitely had some positive steps in our defense," said swingman James Harden, who shot 3 for 17 from the field while needing to sink 11 of 14 free throws to reach 20 points. "On the road, playoff-atmosphere game, it shows the type of camaraderie we've got and the kind of togetherness we're building." That could play a part in reaching the playoffs for the first time four seasons. Houston is seventh in the West, one game behind Golden State for sixth and two in front of the ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets, though, may benefit from having four of their remaining 19 games against Phoenix (21-41), which is tied with New Orleans for the conference's worst record. After facing the Suns on the road, Houston will host them to open a seven-game homestand Wednesday, but Phoenix will face Denver on Monday. Parsons looks to continue his impressive production, averaging 24.3 points on 63.6 percent shooting - 61.4 percent (27 for 44) from beyond the arc - over the past six games. The second-year forward scored 26 points while hitting 6 of 8 from long range against the Warriors. He wasn't very effective against the Suns last season, averaging 5.8 points while the teams split four meetings. Harden, however, has put up 25.6 points per game in his past five matchups while with Oklahoma City, scoring 40 in a 109-97 victory at Phoenix on April 18. The Suns may have a hard time slowing down Parsons and Harden's drives through the lane with centers Marcin Gortat and Jermaine O'Neal out. Gortat may be done for the season with a right mid-foot sprain, while O'Neal is slated to miss a third game to be with his 13-year-old daughter, who is undergoing surgery to repair a leaking heart valve. Phoenix didn't fare too well without them Friday, falling 121-112 at Sacramento after losing 98-71 at home to Toronto two days earlier to halt a three-game winning streak. Luis Scola, who spent his first five seasons with Houston, had 14 points and nine rebounds while starting just his fifth career game at center Friday. He's facing the Rockets for the first time since leaving them via free agency last summer. "With Gortat and Jermaine out, those two guys are our anchors and they really support us down low defensively," coach Lindsey Hunter said. "But we can't talk about what we don't have. One of our favorite phrases is no excuses and the next guy has to step up. So we'll have to go back to the drawing board." Michael Beasley did his part against the Kings, pouring in 24 points after averaging 4.3 over the eight prior games. The forward totaled 12 points over his last two meetings with Houston after scoring 34 in the previous two - all with Minnesota.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Why are Saints holding out on contract talks with Drew Brees?

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Report: Colts' Jones suspended four games for PED use

Report: Royals have interest in Nick Markakis

Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence 911 call released

Manu Ginobili talks interest in 76ers before sticking with Spurs

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

Celtics reportedly unwilling to give up much for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Jay Bruce drawing trade interest

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker