Houston (45-31) at Phoenix (57-18)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 100° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EDT Sat Apr 9, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After being cooled off by the league’s hottest team, the Phoenix Suns will try to start a new winning streak when they face the Houston Rockets.

Phoenix had its six-game winning streak snapped on Friday, 127-119 by Golden State, which has won eight straight. The Suns were defenseless most of the night as the Warriors made a franchise-record 18 3-pointers, and scored 69 points in the second half.

Amare Stoudemire had a monster game for Phoenix with 44 points and 16 rebounds. Stoudemire had averaged only 18 points and 10.3 rebounds in his previous three games after missing two due to inflammation in his left ankle.

The Suns lead San Antonio by two games in the race for the best record in the Western Conference and have a magic number of 6 to earn home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Steve Nash will be looking to turn things around against the Rockets after shooting just 29 percent from the field and averaging 9.0 points in Phoenix’s first three games this season against Houston. Nash compensated by handing out an average of 11.3 assists in those meetings.

Houston ended a three-game skid with a 114-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Tracy McGrady led five Rockets in double figures, scoring 27 points.

Despite the win, the Rockets were not thrilled with the effort.

“We didn’t play great, but we’ll take it,” Houston guard Bob Sura said. “The way we played tonight is not going to cut it against the better teams. It was better, but it won’t be good enough.”

Houston received a major boost from backup center Dikembe Mutombo, who finished with seven points and 11 rebounds. Mutombo is averaging 9.8 rebounds over his last four games.

The Rockets turned in one of their best efforts of the season in their last visit to Phoenix, a 127-107 win on March 11 in which McGrady scored 38 points and Yao Ming added 27 and a career-high 22 boards.

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