Preview: Suns travel to Houston for back end of back-to-back

What: Phoenix Suns (54-14, 1st in West) at Houston Rockets (17-51, last in West)

When: 5:00 PM AZ Time

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings betting line: The Suns are big favorites over the Rockets in this game

On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns (55-14) visit the Houston Rockets (17-51) looking for their third straight win and second in as many nights with a 5 p.m. AZ time tip.

Suns are coming off of a strong victory over New Orleans, winning by 16 with the game well out of hand before the fourth quarter — 19-point lead after three.

Those same Pelicans put down an even bigger shellacking on Houston in the Rockets’ most recent game on Mar. 13, with the Rockets losing by 25 — down by 26 after three.

Transitive property states that Wednesday night should be easy for the Suns, right? Probably! But the Suns can’t let that be the mentality, and head coach Monty Williams won’t let it be.

The Suns are still missing two of their three best offensive players in Chris Paul and Cam Johnson, and Williams hasn’t given any sort of indication that Johnson will return soon. He isn’t even traveling with the team on this road trip, though Paul is.

On the rehab process Johnson’s gone through, Williams said, “He’s still dealing with [the right quad contusion]… I know what it’s like. It’s not fun. You can’t sleep. You can’t function the way you want to.”

Even despite the injuries, Suns have been full steam ahead, especially of late, going 4-1 over their last 5 and a total plus-minus of +54 over that stretch. Devin Booker has been especially impressive during this stretch, averaging 25.5 points in 33 minutes per game since returning from COVID.

Look for the Suns to try to hammer the Rockets early and make it a quick night.

Houston is on a pretty good stretch of their own by their standards, going 2-3 over their last 5. Prized rookie Jalen Green (picked second overall from the G-League Ignite) is hitting his stride late in his rookie season, averaging 20.3 points (37% 3P on 7.4 attempts), 3.5 assists, and 1.2 steals over his last 11 games with 8 of those games being 20-plus point games.

Green embodies the pedal-to-the-metal style of ball that Houston wants to play with, and if the Suns aren’t careful, Houston’s tempo coming off two off-days could tire out Phoenix, who’s on that back-to-back.

The difference in style between opposing two-guards in Booker and Green should make for a fun matchup to watch.

Prediction: 114-92 Suns win.

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