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

Ohio State sets NFL Draft record; rundown of where every player ended up

Timeless Tim: NBA star says Spurs' Duncan could play until he's 90

NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr's secret to longevity: Pumpkin pie

Carmelo Anthony not sure if he’ll play in 2016 Rio Olympics

Report: Ravens would have taken Tunsil if not for video

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Steve Kerr won’t rule out early Stephen Curry return

WATCH: Jaylon Smith finding out he's headed to the Cowboys

Bills take OSU QB Cardale Jones Saturday, ups Buckeyes count to 12

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush epically fails trying to call out Dwyane Wade

DeMarcus Cousins says his feet bother him more every year

Winners and losers: Day Two of the NFL Draft

WATCH: Brooks Orpik lays a high and late hit on Olli Maatta

WATCH: Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright gets drafted, loses mind

Manny Pacquiao is "alarmed" by terrorist kidnapping plot in Philippines

Luke Walton is playing by his own rules as Lakers new head coach

Paul Pierce says he’s ’50-50′ on retirement

Luke Walton: Lakers will not run the triangle offense

Dolphins think they know who dimed out Laremy Tunsil

NFL commish Goodell says "bring it on" to Draft boo birds in Chicago

Snapchat, BuzzFeed team up to deliver video highlights of Summer Games on social

A Trail of wise decisions led the Blazers past the Clippers

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

WATCH: Clippers guard Rivers returns to game after 11 stitches to eye

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

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

Eight players to watch in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Capitals vs. Penguins

10 bold predictions for the first round of the NFL Draft

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Lightning vs. Islanders

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