Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Silver linings

Feb 4, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points up in the game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points up in the game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports /

There has been a lot of bad and ugly so far this season for the Rockets, but let’s not forget the good.

It’s all about mindset, people. Sure, the Houston Rockets haven’t given us many reasons to look fondly on this season, but there is still good to be seen. Despite the off-court issues, James Harden has consistently put up amazing numbers. Dwight Howard has been reliable for a nightly double-double for most of the season. Trevor Ariza has had some of the best games of his career, and Donatas Motiejunas is back and in action.

Houston’s record doesn’t give us reason to be happy but I, for one, plan to insist on looking to the bright side. Let’s take a look at three silver linings.

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First of all, James Harden. Say what you want, but the guy does more for his team than anybody else in the league. He’s had more than his fair share of defensive struggles, but when he’s putting up near triple-double numbers nearly every night, it’s hard to complain. Additionally, he hasn’t actually been that bad on defense since the All-Star break. Space City Scoop’s J.A. Medders featured a James Harden mixtape and offered insight to the Beard’s success.

"If you kept watching the games, you’ve seen the Beard at work. I barely remember his struggles at the beginning of the season. There is at least one moment in each game where I’ll say out loud, even if I’m by myself, “Man. Harden is really,   good.” really"

Second silver lining: Captain Hook. Not everyone is thrilled with D-Mo’s not-so-triumphant return, but I am greatly pleased that the Lithuanian is back in Houston and in the starting lineup. Of the 925,381,396 power forwards on the Rockets, he is the only one that is really capable of stretching the floor. Another feature from Space City Scoop, Joshua Van Horn took a look at the big man’s impact on the team. Keep at it, Captain Hook.

"What is perhaps more important than Motiejunas’ post game, however, is his ability to space the floor. Lacking a reliable power forward all season, the Rockets have had trouble creating open lanes. Because of this, the Rockets have often elected to play small ball, a strategy that helps them on the offensive end, but hurts them on defense–particularly in rebounding in which the rank 8th worst in the league."

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Thirdly, and most surprisingly, Michael Beasley. I know, saying that name with any sort of positive connotation is unheard of. The Rockets signed the China-league MVP for a grand total of about twelve bucks (give or take) as a gamble just to see what happens in a season that is mostly shot. Beasley has had his fair share of on- and off-court issues in the past, but as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports, the 2008 2nd overall pick is ready to grow up. The Rockets have given him a chance to prove himself, and he seems ready to take on the challenge.

“Every player wants to leave their mark,” Beasley said. “Every player has a legacy to worry about. Mine isn’t the greatest so far. That’s what I’m looking for accomplishing, getting my career back on track and helping the team get to new places in the playoffs and further.

“My family is taken care of. My kids are all in school and doing what they have to do. It’s time for me to do the same.”

The Rockets will play tonight on national television to try and restore their record to .500 against the Chicago Bulls, who also happen to be at .500. They begin this upcoming five-game road trip barely holding on to the eighth seed in the playoff race, and tonight could end up mattering quite a bit in the end.

I’ve said something similar to this like a thousand times this season, but if there’s a time to take these silver linings and turn them into something more than just moral victories, now is the time.

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