Not exactly the road trip we were looking for.
The Rockets, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth, cut the lead to 3 with less than a minute to go, but couldn't stop Cliff Robinson and company from hitting their free throws as the Suns edged out the 104-99 win over the Rockets.
Robinson, who scored a game-high 30 points and didn't miss a single one of his 12 free throw attempts, was just too strong all game.
And to make matters worse, the injury list potentially has a new member as Walt Williams (11 points, nailed both threes he took) left the game with a sprained knee.
We now fall to 1-3, and it doesn't get any easier with the Lakers coming in to town on election night Tuesday.
Mad props to Cuttino Mobley, who yeah can be out of control at times, but put up a huge effort in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 of his team-high 27 points in the final frame alone. Cuttino, who had been hitting just 36% of his shots, connected on 9-15 field goals before fouling out with 20 seconds left in the game.
Mobley was hard on himself after the game however.
"We can't win when we play bad as a team like that," he said. "They pay me to come in and give a spark, and I am not doing that."
Steve Francis also played strong in the fourth, picking up two tough shots in the lane and getting fouled on both occasions (though the second time he bricked the free throw, which was costly). Francis finished with 24 points, 6 boards and 5 assists.
Couple of Honorable Mention calls go to Kenny Thomas (9 points, 4 boards, 3 assists) and Jason Collier (yes, it's true.... really). Collier didn't do much, but he did score a bucket and grabbed 3 boards -- all offensive and overall didn't look as lost as he ususally does, which, in our book, is a positive.
Maurice Taylor has struggled in both of these road games however, and it could be because of the ankle sprain. He scored just 8 points and 3 boards in 24 minutes and in the past 2 games has missed 14 of 20 field goals.
The Rockets used 3 straight threes, a pair by Walt and the third by Shandon, to take an early 15-14 lead, but Cliff Robinson was burning the inside guys by hitting mid-range jumpers.
Walt had 8 and Shandon 5 in the first, but Uncle Cliffy's 10 gave the Suns a 26-22 lead through one.
The Rockets jumped out on a 7-2 mini-burst to start the second behind Cuttino Mobley and led 34-30 before the Suns woke up. Kidd nailed a long three just before the half and it was 51-43 Phoenix at the break.
Francis led the Rockets with 13 at intermission.
The Suns used an early 9-4 run to start the third before the Rockets, capped by a Shandon Anderson layup in transition, ran off 6 straight points to cut the Suns lead to 60-53.
The Rockets would come get closer, but the Suns pretty much kept them at bay and led by as many as 14 points in the fourth before the Rockets got it going pretty late in the period. Francis took a gorgeous alleyoop feed, and made a tough shot and was fouled. With the free throw he cut the lead to 5 with over a minute to go. After Cuttino Mobley made a tough jumper in the lane with just over 40 seconds to go, the lead was down to 3, 98-95.
But Jason Kidd milked the clock down then found Cliff Robinson, who was fouled and made both freebies with just over 20 ticks left.
Steve Francis again made a gorgeous, hanging layup (with guys hanging all over him) and picked up the foul, but he missed the free throw.