National Basketball Association
Houston at Phoenix
When: 10:00 PM ET, Monday, April 15, 2013
Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
The Houston Rockets have no idea who they’ll be facing in the first round of the playoffs and coach Kevin McHale doesn’t even think it matters. “Whoever we play, we will not be favored,” McHale told reporters. “We’ll be underdogs to whoever we play. That’s fine with us. We want to get in there and get the guys playing well.” While the Rockets face steep odds in the postseason, they’ll be solid favorites Monday when they visit the lowly Phoenix Suns.
The Rockets tied Golden State for the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 121-100 win over Sacramento on Sunday, and they own the tiebreaker over the Warriors. Houston can clinch the sixth spot with wins against Phoenix and on Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The Rockets and Suns are playing each other for the fourth time in the last 36 days, with Houston winning two of the first three meetings.TV:
10 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet-Houston, Fox Sports ArizonaABOUT THE ROCKETS (45-35):
Houston received a boost Sunday when forward Chandler Parsons returned and had 13 points in 27 minutes after missing four games with a strained right calf. The Rockets are being cautious with Parsons, but he’s hoping to play in each of the final two regular-season games. Forward Terrence Jones continued his strong play over the past month with five blocked shots against the Kings and forward Greg Smith has established himself in the starting lineup as a perfect complement to center Omer Asik.ABOUT THE SUNS (24-56):
Phoenix is stumbling to the finish line with 15 losses in its last 17 games, including a 105-93 loss to Minnesota on Saturday. The loss dropped Phoenix to 3-16 since losing center Marcin Gortat to a foot injury on March 6. Gortat is hoping to play in one of the Suns’ final two games, but general manager Lance Blanks isn’t thrilled by the idea. “The biggest thing is his long-term health,” Blanks said. “How much do you get out of one or two games?” Forward Michael Beasley is more likely to play after missing the last three games due to the birth of his daughter.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Houston has lost 10 times in its last 13 road games at Phoenix.
2. The Suns are averaging a league-worst 17.5 turnovers since March 11.
3. The Rockets are 6-14 in the second game of a back-to-back.PREDICTION:
Rockets 109, Suns 95
Stats and Records