The Houston Rockets are a Stephen Curry layup away from being on a nine game winning streak.
Curry not only won the game, but he also forced the overtime.
Five Warriors scored in double figures. Andre Iguodola flirted with a triple double.
Simply put, the Rockets were worn out. They were on the second game of a back to back, and last game they ran the score up to 134-108.
But the beating that the Rockets gave to the Lakers in the game before makes everything a little better.
You don’t suck, Dwight.
Wednesday night, Dwight Howard and company killed the Los Angeles Lakers by 26 points. The fans booed Howard any chance they could, but it was D12 who had the last laugh.
“We have a long way to go, a long way to go. But it’s scary how good we can be,” James Harden told Johnathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle on February 11th.
The Houston Rockets are in the midst of their longest winning streak since their 22 game streak in the 2007-08 season. After conquering Los Angeles last night, the Rockets remain third in the West. With these eight consecutive wins are four reasons why the Rockets are playing so well at this point in the season.
1. Team Chemistry
We all knew this was going to take some time. Remember Miami’s slow start with their new super team?
Two championships later everyone forgot about “The Decision”. And soon people will forget about Howard’s “Dwightmare”.
The Heat wound up in the Finals that year, and based off the similar chemistry improvement in Houston, the Rockets could find themselves there as well.
“The quality of character on the team is only going to grow,” said Jeff Van Gundy in a one-on-one interview with me earlier this season. “ [General Manager Daryl Morey] isn’t just some stat geek nerd, he’s in a position to lead a franchise and doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He does more than analytics.”
Advanced stats or not, Morey did one hell of a job putting this team together. It may look like a bunch of misfits—a giant beard, an outcast superstar, a second round gem, Jeremy Lin himself, and a surprisingly improved second year forward—but they are beginning to gel and take control of the Western Conference, hopefully, for years to come.
Improved chemistry leads to each player sacrificing for the betterment of the team, as well as the growth of friendships. Below is an Instagram post from Dwight Howard of Francisco Garcia and Patrick Beverley playing knock out.
“The Rockets have the most dynamic one-two punch in the league in Dwight Howard and James Harden. And they’re only going to get better the more they play with each other.”
Van Gundy put it perfectly: It’s only going to get better.
James Harden, Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin are all playing less minutes compared to last season. Lin, especially, has willingly sacrificed his numbers and minutes because of Houston’s three-man point guard rotation; he is sacrificing points, rebounds, assists, steals and dare I say, “Linsanity”.
Howard and Harden are also playing less minutes compared to last year.
“We enjoy each other,” Howard said. “I’m happy to be here. The guys are happy to have me here and we’re just having a lot of fun. I think the biggest thing for our team is that we’re free, we’re able to have fun with each other, but when we step between the lines we know it’s serious.”