Houston (20-15) at Phoenix (22-13)

Fair Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Wed Jan 6, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

When the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns met in November, the Suns were one of the NBA’s hottest teams.

After a rough stretch lasting several weeks, they’re trying to recapture that momentum.

The Suns host the Rockets on Wednesday, seeking their fourth victory in five games.

Phoenix (22-13) won 14 of its first 17 games, including a 111-105 victory at Houston on Nov. 17. Amare Stoudemire’s modest 23 points led the Suns on a night where all 10 Phoenix players to take the floor scored at least five.

The Suns lost nine of their first 14 games in December but have since recovered to win three of four, including an 113-109 victory in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Phoenix, which allowed Memphis to shoot 53.1 percent in a 128-103 home loss on Saturday, prevailed against the Kings despite more lackluster defense. Tuesday wasn’t much better. The Suns held a 20-point lead in the first half, and although they never trailed, they had to hold on after the Kings tied the game three times in the final 10 minutes.

The Suns led by as many as 20 points, but didn’t put the game away until the closing minutes after Sacramento rallied to tie it at 103.

“We have to cut that out,” said Stoudemire, who finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. “We have to find a way to maintain the lead. Once you get a great lead like we did tonight, we have to win that way.”

Nash led the Suns with 30 points, 12 assists and four steals.

Stoudemire is averaging 26.4 points on 68.3 percent shooting in the last four games.

Phoenix, opening a three-game homestand that also features matchups with Miami and Milwaukee, will likely need to perform better defensively that it did Saturday, when it yielded its most points at home all season.

The Suns would seem to stand a good chance of containing the Rockets (20-15), who haven’t reached 100 points in their last three games and are coming off their lowest-scoring performance of 2009-10 - an 88-79 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday in Los Angeles in which they shot 40.3 percent overall and went 4 of 23 from 3-point range.

“I feel like we had open shots and we didn’t capitalize on their mistakes,” said Houston guard Aaron Brooks(notes), who scored 18 points. “They did just enough to keep us away.”

Brooks went 1 of 6 from 3-point range after making 17 of 31 from beyond the arc during the previous four games while averaging 24.3 points.

Reserve Carl Landry(notes), who had a team-high 19 points Tuesday, scored 27 against the Suns in the November loss.

The Rockets are looking to avoid losing a season-high third straight and completing a winless three-game road trip. Houston has only dropped consecutive games one other time this season, falling at home to Dallas and San Antonio on Nov. 25 and 27.

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Wednesday, Jan 6