The Houston Rockets are at .500 for only the second time this year, so let’s have fun with it!
Who better to get back to .500 against than those Los Angeles Clippers? Those same Clippers whose hearts were ripped out by the Rockets not but six months ago. Beating the fighting Doc Rivers’ has almost become routine, nearly taking the joy out of the whole thing.
Not to mention it’s been fun owning the city of Los Angeles in 2015 (4-0), although Houston isn’t the only team who can make that claim. It’s just nice to hear those collective fan bases shut up for once.
Moving past the fun, the schedule is about to heat up at an alarming pace. Tonight brings the Charlotte Hornets, who may be the biggest surprise in the NBA this season. Then the Rockets go to the Orlando Magic, get the invincible San Antonio Spurs at home and then travel to the New Orleans Pelicans. That’s just four games.
The mess that has been the past 28 games could very well be getting a nuclear reactor thrown in the middle of it. It’s one thing to be getting the Lakers, Kings and Nuggets in back-to-backs, but now you’re staring down the barrel of Hawks, Warriors and Spurs. Yikes.
Instead of being too pessimistic, I’m just glad Houston plays on Christmas Day. It’s easily one of my favorite traditions on the blessed day. Cherish the moment! It’s Christmas week!
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
It’s becoming more and more apparent Ty Lawson will be on the move, along with Terrence Jones and potentially Dwight Howard. Now I’m a sucker for crazy trade theories, so this one has five for you! Who could Houston get for Lawson? What do y’all think about O.J. Mayo in a Rockets uniform? What about Darren Collison? Brandon Jennings perhaps? There’s a lot to think about here now that this trade is becoming more likely.
"Bear in mind that Ty’s market value is currently extremely low, therefore the number of teams interested or deals to be made for Lawson are restrict and as I’ve already said, the initial investment is likely lost."
James Harden is known around the sports world as a scorer, not a distributor. However one of the best kept secretes in the NBA, if it’s really even a secret anymore, is how good of a passer Harden is. The Beard had 11 dimes on Saturday and is averaging nearly seven assists a game. For someone who plays a lot of iso ball, he’s really a team player. Jonathan Feigen does a good job explaining the process behind Harden’s distribution below:
"Opponents have frequently used three players to defend him and Howard in pick-and-rolls, putting two on the ball with a third defender leaving a shooter in the corner to pick up Howard rolling through the lane. That has led to open 3s, but the Rockets would like to force an adjustment that will lead to more Harden drives or pick-and-roll passes to Howard."
Here’s something to lookout for: Ever since the floodgates have opened on Houston with all the trade rumors, the team has put together back-to-back wins. The sample size is a little too small for me to take anything away from it, but according to J.B. Bickerstaff the uncertainty has brought the team “closer together”. Has it really? I guess we’ll find out with this upcoming gauntlet of a schedule.
Distractions Aren’t Affecting The Rockets [CBS Houston – Joshua Reese]
"The team does feel like it is starting to come together. The offense is playing a lot quicker, moving the ball better with a lot less straight isolation plays. On defense, the guys are playing with a lot more communication on the court. As a whole, the team is flowing much better."
Can I get a video of Austin Rivers trying to post up on Dwight Howard? Ahh, Christmas brings us so many blessings.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 20, 2015
Christmas on a Friday? Ugh… now I have to wait for two things this week. And you have three games to look forward too, staring with Charlotte tonight. The Hornets play sound defense, which will be interesting to see how Harden and the boys attack it. Christmas brings good tidings and good games, and I can barely wait.