Houston Rockets (-8, 213 o/u) at Phoenix Suns
The Houston Rockets (26-25, 10-13 Away) played their best game in the last two weeks on Tuesday, downing the Miami Heat, 115-102. Now they’ll look to build off that win as they visit the Talking Stick Resort Arena tonight (9:00 PM Eastern) to take on the Phoenix Suns (14-36, 10-14 Home).
Houston had lost three straight before beating the Heat last time out. The 13-point win was spurred by 26 points and a season-high 14 assists from James Harden.
“People see the scoring, scoring, scoring, but they don’t see that [Harden] makes plays for his teammates,” interim coach BJ Bickerstaff said the Associated Press. “They don’t see the passes he makes time and time again.”
The Rockets ended up covering the spread as 4.5-point favorites.
The win moved Houston back above .500 and a game-and-a-half ahead of Portland and Utah for seventh in the West. The Suns, on the other hand, sit second-last in the conference and have now lost five in a row after a 104-97 setback to Toronto on Tuesday. The loss marked the head coaching debut of Earl Watson who replaced Jeff Hornacek on the Phoenix bench.
Markieff Morris was one of the lone bright spots in the Raptors game; the fourth-year player – who’s been angling for a trade ever since twin brother Marcus was dealt in the offseason – had 30 points, 11 boards, and six assists in the loss.
“I had a feeling if I gave him positive encouragement and let him know that no matter what, we love him no matter what happened beyond basketball … and give him an opportunity to play and let him know he is going to play, he is going to get big minutes,” said Watson to the AP.
The Rockets have won seven of their last ten meetings against the Suns and are 5-1 ATS in the last six of those. Eight is a lot to lay on the road, but Phoenix is truly reeling right now.
Pick: Houston (-8).
(Photo credit: Mwinog2777 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)