The Houston Rockets are playing out a dramatic comeback story this season, redeeming their shortcomings of last season one win at a time.
This time last year, Houston Rockets fans were beginning to lose hope in their team. Ty Lawson proved to be a bust and rumors circled that said James Harden wasn’t a good team player. Things didn’t get much better throughout the season, and the Rockets were eventually stomped by the Golden State Warriors in 5 games to put an end to their misery.
Now, things are completely different. Nearly every unbiased source considers the Rockets an elite team, and Harden is back to being an MVP candidate. Winning 13 of their last 15 games, things are looking up for Red Nation. Today’s Daily Rocket Science will cover the various subplots of this great comeback narrative that’s following Houston this season.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
James Harden is this year’s greatest redemption story, writes Duncan Smith of the newly launched 16 Wins a Ring. He’s clearly one of the best offensive talents in the league, and isn’t a blight on the other side of the ball either. It’s time to give credit where credit is due.
"Yes, that’s right, James Harden is positively average on defense. Tell your friends, Harden is no turnstile. Not anymore at least. Now that he is longer required to take a beating on offense on drives to the paint every possession, Harden is able to maintain a more-than-acceptable level of defense for a top-five NBA offensive talent. He’s a neutral defender at worst by almost every metric that matters, and he’s capable of making game-changing plays…"
With the Beard’s improved play, the Rockets’ front office is surely glad that they locked him into another year in Houston with his contract extension this past summer. Now, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, he could sign yet another huge extension with the new labor deal in place. Feigen outlines exactly how that would work, and notes that both parties would probably be on board with the idea.
"“They love me, man. I love them,” Harden said. “I love being here. We’re going to win a lot. I’m excited to be here. That’s one of the reasons I extended this summer. Obviously, this year’s been great. I’ve been happy, probably the happiest I’ve been since I’ve been in a Rockets uniform. Everybody else is happy.”"
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Eric Gordon is another player who’s enjoyed telling a comeback story. After a few disappointing years in New Orleans, he’s playing some of the best basketball of his career as a sixth man. The Vertical’s Michael Lee discusses the reasons why he fits so extremely well in Houston’s high-powered offense.
"“I’ll be able to be a playmaker and a scorer at the same time. James has his unit and I have my unit. I’m just free will to do whatever I want to do on the court,” Gordon, averaging 17.5 points and 2.8 assists, told The Vertical. “[Harden] draws a lot of attention, and when teams sag off, I’m there. He’s able to always find the right guy and it’s just all about me and other guys knocking down shots.”"
The Rockets, after losing a heartbreaker to the Spurs to break their 10-game winning streak, found their mojo the following night against the Suns. Tonight, they take on the Grizzlies, who sit just two spots back in the standings at 5th in the Western Conference.
Memphis is known for their gritty defense, and will surely put the Rockets to the test tonight. Follow @SpaceCity_Scoop on Twitter for live updates on how things go for Houston.