Houston (61-14) are enjoying their third double-digit winning streak of the season, pushing their current run to ten games after pounding Chicago 118-86 on Tuesday night, giving All-Star guard MVP front-runner James Harden the night off and letting Eric Gordon run wild as he hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 31 points.
Chris Paul added 13 points, ten assists and four steals as Houston hit 18 treys and recorded 28 assists on their 41 field goals. Houston entered play Thursday night with a 6.5-game lead over Golden State for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Warriors, leaving the Rockets one win shy or one Warriors loss from wrapping up home-court advantage for as long as they are in the postseason.
Harden is expected to play in this game as the Rockets look to further their single-season franchise record for victories. They also carry a 17-game home winning streak into this contest, and if they win their final four games at the Toyota Center, they would better the franchise record of 20 established from October 25, 1985, to January 14, 1986.
Phoenix (19-57) have lost 13 straight, tying a single-season franchise record, and 23 of 24 overall after a 111-99 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. Missing four regulars, the Suns hung tough for three quarters before the Clippers broke open the game with an 18-0 run to start the final period.
Devin Booker, Elfrid Payton, T. J. Warren and Alex Len all missed the game with various injuries, and only Payton is listed as questionable for this contest. Tyler Ulis scored 23 points and rookie Shaquille Harrison scored a season-high 17, but the Suns were outscored 66-42 in the paint.