The Phoenix Suns took advantage of the Houston Rockets' lack of depth at point guard and two early fouls on Goran Dragic to grab a 13-point first quarter advantage and maintained that lead throughout the game for a 99-86 win in Phoenix Sunday night.
Houston really struggled in the first quarter, especially in the time spent without Dragic. To spell out some of the desperation, the Rockets opted to use rookie forward Chandler Parsons as a surrogate point guard and in the third used recent D-League signing Courtney Fortson, who didn't even have his name on the back of his jersey in time for the game.
While the Rockets were out of sync and unable to locate good shots, the Suns pounded the ball inside early, getting 18 points out of each Marcin Gortat, Grant Hill and Channing Frye. Phoenix out-shot the Rockets 47 percent to 26 percent.
In the second quarter, Phoenix unleashed Michael Redd on the Rockets and the lead grew even more. Redd was almost perfect in the quarter, hitting on six of seven shots, with the lone miss rimming out after appearing to go down as well. Redd led the way for the Suns in the game, remaining hot in the second half and finishing with 25 points, which represents a season-high.
Meanwhile the Rockets gamely attempted to chip away at the lead, getting eight points and eight rebounds from the first game of recent acquisition Marcus Camby, as well as double digit efforts from five other teammates, led by Luis Scola's 18 points.
The Suns needed good games from Gortat (15 points, 10 rebounds, 7-of-9 shooting) and Frye (19 points, eight rebounds) to go with Redd because three other usual suspects (Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Jared Dudley) scored well below their averages.
The trio usually shoots 14-of-29, but Sunday night they shot a combined 6-of-23. Nash did have 11 assists, but was only 2-of-6 from the field for four points. Hill had 10 points, but shot 3-of-10 and Dudley was way off, going 1-of-7 with four points.
The Rockets jumped out to a 6-0 lead early in Phoenix, but the Suns went on a 13-0 run in return and never looked back en route to a 99-86 home victory. Led by Redd, Marcin Gortat and the surprisingly paint-prowling Channing Frye, the Suns never let their guard down and hit enough shots to keep the exhausted Rockets at bay. Houston didn't have any legs tonight and it showed - they finished 1-11 from behind the three-point line, missed seven free throws and committed sixteen mostly lazy turnovers.
For the Suns take on the win, check out Bright Side Of The Sun.