The Rockets finally won a game they were supposed to win, like they were supposed to win it.
All season so far, the Houston Rockets have been the official poster team for unpredictability. It seems that every game they’re supposed to win, they lose. Conversely, the games that should be impossible, the team often times has ended up pulling something out of their magic hat and coming away with a win.
Last night, however, the Rockets played the Philadelphia 76ers and won easily, playing like the team they were supposed to be all year–one that beats the Sixers no problem (let us all remember that the first time we played them this season, it took a 50 point outing from James Harden to scrape out a 2-point victory).
Is this a sign of good things to come? It’s hard to tell. If I gave a definite answer to that question I’d be making a prediction, and I’ve learned my lesson with making predictions this season.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
If Houston wants to avoid being handed a swift and efficient first-round exit courtesy of the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs, they’ll have to fight and claw their way up to the sixth seed or better. They’ve hovered right around the 8th seed for quite a while now, but they’re only a half game away from the 7th spot. Space City Scoop’s J.A. Medders took a look at what it would take for the Rockets to make that final push and whether it’s even worth getting our hopes up.
"will put them face to face with the Warriors, Thunder, Spurs, and two games with the Thunder—all games they will probably lose. have two more games against the Warriors, two with the Clippers, a game with the Cavaliers, and their final game of the season is against the Spurs. , the poor Grizzlies, have the most challenging schedule of all of the bottom-seeded teams, with two games with the Warriors, two with the Spurs, two with the Clippers, and one with the Cavaliers. Portland’s schedule The Mavericks The Grizzlies"
The staff here at Space City Scoop isn’t the only group of folks who think a playoff upset is possible. Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report ran an article discussing the possible Cinderella teams for the NBA playoffs this year, and the Rockets have their name mentioned. I wouldn’t put my money on Houston against the Warriors or Spurs, but any other series could get interesting if the stars aligned.
What if it all clicks?
Lest we forget, the Houston Rockets went 56-26 during the 2014-15 campaign, earning the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and advancing all the way to the penultimate round of the playoffs, where they lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors.
Hard as it may be to believe, this team really isn’t all that different.
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One of the primary reasons for the issues the Rockets have faced this year is lazy defense. The team just does not seem to try at times. After last year’s defensive improvement, the Beard seems to have regressed on that side of the ball, setting himself up to be the subject of many Vines and Youtube videos. However, as CBS Sports’ Zach Harper pointed out, his defense may not be quite as bad as it seems. GM Daryl Morey recently took to Twitter to defend Harden’s play, and he may have a point–why focus on one play when the guy put up 40 points and 14 assists while winning in Toronto for the first time since March 16th, 2007?
"The funny thing about Morey’s “lashing out” at the criticism of his star player is it’s not even correct criticism. While it looks like Harden is just standing and watching the offense, he’s actually staying home on a strong side corner shooter. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do in the most basic of help defense schemes. The help almost always rotates over from the weak side because there’s more time to scramble and recover due to longer passes."
If Houston wants to continue their hopes at a successful playoff run, it’ll start with getting a win in Boston tomorrow night. The Celtics are a dangerous team, and playing on their home court is never fun for visitors. However, the Rockets have proven they’re capable of playing at a high level–they just have to want to do it on a nightly basis.
The Mavericks are now tied with the Rockets in the loss column at 32. Rockets can make a statement Friday with a win over Celtics.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 10, 2016
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