The Phoenix Suns messed with Texas in a big way Friday night, knocking off the San Antonio Spurs in convincing fashion by a final of 106-85.
But as the Suns found out the hard way Sunday night, the Spurs aren’t the only title contender in the Western Conference hailing from the Lonestar State.
The Houston Rockets erased an 11-point fourth quarter deficit behind big nights from Dwight Howard (25 points) James Harden (23 points) and Patrick Beverley (go-ahead three-point shot) and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat at the US Airways Center 115-112.
Here’s a look back at the tough three-point loss by the numbers:
Suns reserve forward Markieff Morris recorded his fifth consecutive double-digit scoring performance, pouring in 21 off the pine to go along with seven rebounds. The third-year pro out of Kansas has scored at least 20 points in 12 games this season.
Not only did Miles Plumlee fail to contain Dwight Howard (10-of-12 shooting) at the offensive end, he failed to really test the eight-time All-Star at the defensive end. Plumlee failed to reach double digits for the 11th time in his last 12 games, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds.
Although they gave up 32 points in the fourth quarter and 115 in all, the Suns did do a nice job of getting into the passing lanes Sunday. Phoenix recorded 14 steals and six different players had at least two.
The Suns only assisted on 16 of their 42 made baskets and no player had more than four dimes on the night.
Gerald Green made his mark coming out of halftime, scoring 18 points including a buzzer beater from 30-feet out to end the third quarter. Green might not be the lucky charm he was earlier in 2013-14, as Phoenix has dropped two games in its last five in which Green surpassed the 20-point mark.
Suns guard Goran Dragic set a new career-high with 35 points Sunday night, including 19 in the second quarter. At one point in the contest, the Slovenian hit 10 field goal attempts in a row. Phoenix, however, is just 4-3 this season when Dragic reaches the 30-point mark.
Paint points seemed to be at the Rockets’ disposal all night long. In the 115-112 victory, Houston recorded 62 in all compared to just 42 for Phoenix.
Houston was dominant in the paint, and extremely efficient from the line. The Rockets converted 87.5 percent (28-of-32) of their attempts from the charity stripe, including a perfect 9-for-9 night out of James Harden.