Oct 22, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, left, talks with guard James Harden during a timeout as the Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 90-89 at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets sit a 4-0 right now following a win at Philadelphia and are off to their best start since 1996-1997 season. All around the Rockets have been playing good basketball as each of their four victories has been by double digits. But of the four games Houston have played only one has been at home, and Tuesday night will be the second game of a back to back on the road.
Houston has shown early that they are capable of winning on the road, and that’s important for the team to figure out how to win road games early in the season rather than late. The Rockets four wins have come against the 76ers, Celtics, Lakers, and Jazz. Though that is, nothing to brag extremely about the Rockets are doing what they supposed to do by taking advantage of those matchups.
The Rockets could have a legit shot at starting off 10-0. Of the Rockets next six games three are at home and three are on the road. Looking at the Rockets next six games and there and is potential for the team to start off 10-0. Five down after the victory over Miami, it next takes us to what could be difficult: The Rockets will take on the Spurs Thursday night in Houston and Golden State at home on Saturday.
Spurs have only played three games, but they are 2-1 with their only victory coming off of an opening night victory against the Mavericks and a win Nov. 5 over the Hawks . Last year the Rockets were the only team the Spurs did not defeat last year this will be the second home game for the Rockets.
To win against the defending champs teams will have to be very efficient against them which is what the Rockets will have to be at home. This game could get chippy as the Rockets and Spurs are both in the same division.
However, the Warriors are 3-0 on the year so far and were the number one team in a recent power ranking from yahoo after the first week of the season. They have been getting stellar play from Klay Thompson who dropped 40 against the Lakers in their second win of the season and followed that with 29 in a win against the trailblazers.
Trevor Ariza will be picked for the challenge to stick with Thompson as Patrick Beverley will handle Steph Curry. Last year the Rockets won the regular season series against the Warriors 2-1 with the only game the Warriors won resulted in overtime. Rockets can’t afford to play a flawed game against Heat, Spurs, or Warriors.
Each of those three teams provides an increased level of competition the Rockets haven’t seen yet from the previous four teams. Against the first four teams, the Rockets were able to get away with shaky production from the bench or flaws in general. Neither the Heat, Spurs or Warriors will play the Rockets easy, and each team will try to take advantage of each opportunity.
After the Warriors, the Rockets take on Timberwolves, 76ers, and the Thunder.
Rockets shouldn’t have any major issues with either of these teams. Timberwolves are a young team and of course they no longer have Kevin Love a player capable of causing Houston fits. Houston just beat the 76ers, and the next meeting will be in Houston.
OKC will be a game the Rockets must take advantage of for numerous reasons. First off the Thunder will be without their two best players in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Second, the Rockets must win this game to take advantage of solidifying their spot early in the Western Conference.
Before the season Oklahoma City was looked at as a team who had a great chance of winning the Western Conference and potentially the NBA title, but due to early season injuries that could be much harder for them to have the seeding they would like in the Western Conference. It is possible that the Rockets realize this and take full advantage of the Thunder while they are down their two best players.
Through the first five games the Rockets have got great production from Harden, which is not surprising. He is averaging 27.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 7.4 APG.
Meanwhile, Ariza has been paying huge dividends for the Rockets as he is averaging 17.6 PPG and is an almost absurd 60 percent from the three-point line.
Ariza has been taking advantage of the open shots he has been getting as a result of the extra attention being paid to Harden and Dwight Howard. A big key for the Rockets to start off 10-0 would be could they get consistent production from the bench over these next six games.
Guys such as K-Pap, D-Mo, Isaiah Canaan, and Troy Daniels have to make sure the Rockets production does not have a steep fall between the time the bench is in, and the starters are out.
It won’t be easy for the next few games for the Rockets, but it is very possible they could start off 10-0.