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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 6th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (20-15) at Phoenix Suns (22-13), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns open a three-game homestand tonight by welcoming the Houston Rockets to the desert.

The Suns come into the residency on a positive note after downing division rival Sacramento, 113-109, last night. Steve Nash, the NBA's leader in free throw percentage, went 13-of-13 from the charity stripe -- including four key shots in the final 11.7 seconds -- to help Phoenix hold off the feisty Kings, 113-109, at Arco Arena.

Nash, who is 112-of-119 from the line this season, scored 30 points and added 12 assists for the Suns, who have beaten the Kings nine out of the last 10 times. Amare Stoudemire added 24 points and eight rebounds and went 8-of-8 from the free throw line, as Phoenix ended 32-of-36 as a team.

"I think it would be better if we could hold teams off, but we're doing just fine," Nash said. "We were picked to make the playoffs. To have 20-plus wins at this point, we should all be satisfied and just keep building, and not put too much pressure on ourselves."

Jason Richardson contributed 20 points and nine boards, and Channing Frye had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Suns.

Phoenix, which is an impressive 13-3 at US Airways Center, will also face Miami and Milwaukee on its residency.

The Rockets, meanwhile, fell to 0-2 on a three-game road trip Tuesday in Los Angeles. Lamar Odom barely missed a triple-double in that one, finishing with 17 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists, as the Lakers beat Houston, 88-79, on a milestone night for Kobe Bryant.

With his 22-point performance, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815), into sole possession of 15th place on the league's scoring list. Bryant has 24,837 and has his eyes set on ex-Laker Jerry West (25,192), who is 14th on the list.

Former Rocket Ron Artest also returned to the lineup after a five-game absence due to a concussion and had seven points and seven rebounds in the fourth straight win for the Lakers, who are a league-best 28-6. That includes a 20-3 home mark, with one of those losses coming to the Rockets on November 15.

Carl Landry had 19 points and Aaron Brooks scored 18 in Houston's lowest offensive output of the season. Luis Scola had 15 points and ex-Laker Trevor Ariza scored 12 for the Rockets, who never led.

"We had our chances to win in the fourth quarter, but we didn't finish plays," Houston coach Rick Adelman said.

The Rockets haven't lost three in a row all season and have only dropped two straight one other time this season, tripping at home to in-state rivals Dallas and San Antonio on Nov. 25 and 27.

Overall, the Suns have taken two straight over Houston, including a 111-105 win in south Texas earlier this season.

01/06 10:42:14 ET


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