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Houston Rockets: 4 Things We Learned from Win Streak

By Bill Simpson
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Feb 5, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Terrence Jones (6) drives to the basket during the first half against the Phoenix Suns at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

4. Frontcourt

According to NBA.com, defensive impact is a statistic that measures the impact defense a player has: blocks, steals, opposing field goal percentage at the rim. Howard is ranked seventh overall; his opponents field goal percentage is 47.4 percent. Out of the top seven players in defensive impact, that is the third lowest field goal percentage. Opponents only make 4.4 field goals out of 9.2, less than 50 percent. He has tallied more blocks this season than players like Josh Smith and Joakim Noah. He averages almost a steal per game, which is better than the leader in blocks, Serge Ibaka.

Josh Martin of Bleacher Report listed All-Star break power rankings list the Rockets at No. 2 behind Oklahoma City Thunder.

Houston is in the top 10 in defensive efficiency, a huge turnaround from the start of the season.

According to 82games.com, Dwight grabs 10.1 percent out of the 29.9 percent of total Rockets offensive rebounds. He grabs 24.9 percent of defensive rebounds for the Rockets. He averages 1.12 blocks per foul, and blocks 3.0 percent of all shots out there. That may not sound like a lot, but though he may not block every shot, he contests them and makes his opponents change their shot.

Van Gundy went on to say, “Dwight Howard is such an intellectual defender, rim protector and can still average 20 points per game.”

Howard is seventh in total blocks this season, third in total rebounds and fourth in rebounding average per game at 12.5.

To describe Howard’s season in one word? Dominant.

But Houston’s starting center hasn’t been the only starting big playing well.

“The Rockets utilized their D-League team with Terrence Jones: He got major minutes, good experience and is now contributing to a contending team,” Van Gundy continued.

This season Terrence Jones is averaging double minutes per game, almost 10 percent better field goal shooting and double the amount of rebounds and points.

Nobody could have predicted this outpouring of talent and skill that Jones has been doing this season, only in his second year. Jones left Kentucky as a heavy minute starter to a fringe bench player, then a D-League hopeful. But, man, did that help. Jones is now the starting power forward for this ‘we can beat anyone in this league’ team.

Jones, like the Rockets, is for real.

Even Omer Asik can’t stay away from this roster. He’s back again playing with the second unit and soon to be thriving. Donatas Motiejunas has been a diamond in the rough for Houston, as he has been surprisingly stellar in his all-around game.

Even if it’s not this season, the way the Rockets are set up, they are bound to make the Finals at least once in the next decade. Team chemistry will only get better from here, which will also help increase the total defensive impact of the Rockets. As long as the roster stays relatively healthy and remains unselfish, the Rockets will find themselves hosting the Larry O’Brien trophy sooner rather than later.

***Note: All stats not otherwise noted are from NBA.com

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