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Preview: Suns at Rockets

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 05 2014 12:54:33 AM MST
Updated On: Feb 05 2014 12:54:33 AM MST

Houston star James Harden has had time to rest his injured thumb and ailing foot and that could pose trouble for the Phoenix Suns when they visit the Rockets on Wednesday. Harden missed two games with injuries and returned to score 28 points against Cleveland on Saturday and then received three more days to rest up prior to the arrival of the high-octane Suns. Phoenix suffered a 101-92 home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday to see a five-game winning streak halted.The Suns scored just 33 first-half points against Chicago and then allowed 32 fourth-quarter points while they were attempting to rally. "We gave up so much easy stuff," said guard Goran Dragic, who scored 24 points. "We didn't bring it - no energy and we didn't do smart plays." The Rockets have won three straight games, and Harden went 10-of-17 from the field in his return. "I need to injure my hand more often," Harden joked. "I shot it better than I've been shooting before."TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), CSN HoustonABOUT THE SUNS (29-19): Phoenix is reportedly interested in acquiring Pau Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers to bolster its frontcourt but nothing is expected to occur until after Gasol returns from a groin injury. The Suns are looking to add a marquee player in order to increase their odds of making a solid playoff push, and Los Angeles is eager to part ways with Gasol to create salary-cap space. Phoenix starts Miles Plumlee at center and P.J. Tucker and Channing Frye in the frontcourt and sees Gasol as a clear upgrade to the starting lineup.ABOUT THE ROCKETS (32-17): Guard Jeremy Lin came off the bench in the victory over Cleveland to notch his first career triple-double. Lin had 15 points, a career-best 11 rebounds and 10 assists to become the first Houston reserve to post a triple-double since Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell recorded one way back on March 31, 1988. "Jeremy had a really good game," Houston coach Kevin McHale said afterward. "We really needed it. He came out and brought good juice. Jeremy just had a good positive vibe going, playing hard and wasn't losing his mind if something happened."BUZZER BEATERS 1. Phoenix has won five of the past seven meetings, including a 97-88 win in Houston on Dec. 4.2. Suns G Gerald Green is averaging five points on 4-of-19 shooting over the past two games.3. Rockets C Dwight Howard is 15-of-19 from the free-throw line over the last two games and is averaging 23.3 points over the past three outings.PREDICTION: Suns 122, Rockets 119