For the sixth time in seven games and the fifth time in a row, the Phoenix Suns lost and were barely competitive as they shot themselves in the foot against the Houston Rockets.
It is not the kind of streak Suns fans have become accustomed to over the last couple of seasons, as Phoenix lost their fifth straight game by double digits, 111-97, to the Houston Rockets. Although the Suns started short-handed – Devin Booker was out with a hamstring injury – and finished even more short-handed – Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne both missed the second half with injuries – had Phoenix shot better, they could have competed.
Instead, the Suns shot a season-worst 32% from the field and were never really in the game following a second-quarter burst, cutting the lead to four. From 25-29 with just under eight minutes to go in the first half, the Rockets went on a 13-0 run to blow the lead to 25-42 until Mikal Bridges hit two free throws to stem the bleeding.
Regardless at 27-42, down 15, the Suns would get no closer than 11 the rest of the night as Houston cruised to victory.
Phoenix Suns shooting lets them down
Despite all the injuries and players missing, the Suns missed their shots. The Suns counted on Ayton to step up in the game without Booker. Instead, the big man went 2-10 before leaving with an ankle injury.
The poor shooting was not limited to Ayton, nor was he the worst, as Mikal Bridges went 4-24 on the night, including 2-10 from three-point land. Chris Paul went 5-17, and Torrey Craig went 2-9. Landry Shamet went 5-13 and was the best shooter in the starting line-up, and his 38% is not winning many ballgames.
While Houston was not lights out shooting 42%, they managed one more bucket – 34 – than did the Suns, although the Suns took 22 more shots.
The one bright spot for the Suns was the foul line, where Bridges was 8-8, and the Suns were a combined 18-19. However, the foul line was again a difference maker with Houston as the Rockets went to the line 34 times, making 31, for 13 more free-throws made in a 14-point win.
With more injuries and one more road game facing the LA Clippers before hosting the Pelicans, there is no good news for Phoenix beyond another chance to get things right.