Head coach Mike D’Antoni said that the Golden State Warriors can’t stop the Houston Rockets, and vice versa.
The Houston Rockets had an exceptional offseason, and that success has carried over into the preseason.
In the preseason opener, the Rockets outlasted an Oklahoma City Thunder team without Russell Westbrook, winning the game 104-97. Then on Thursday evening, Houston dismantled the Shanghai Sharks 144-82.
It’s just the preseason, and Houston hasn’t played a top-tier team at full strength, but Rockets fans have to be impressed with the performance of the team so far.
The Rockets big test will come on opening night when they take on the defending champion Golden State Warriors. It’ll be a high-scoring, fast paced slug out between two of the most talented offensive teams that we’ve seen in the last decade. Mike D’Antoni knows that the Warriors high-octane offense can’t be stopped, but he also knows that Houston’s offense is just as potent, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“You’re not gonna stop them. It’s just not gonna happen. They’re not gonna stop us either. Should be fun.”
Golden State and Houston are neck and neck offensively.
Indeed, it’s nearly impossible to slow down the Rockets and the Warriors. Last season, Golden State led the NBA with a scoring average of 115.9 points a game, and Houston finished right behind them with 115.3 points a game. The Rockets made an NBA record 14.4 3-pointers a game, and the Warriors made 12.0 a game, which was tied for third in the NBA. Also, Golden State finished first in assists with 30.4 a game, and the Rockets finished close behind with 25.2 a game, finishing third.
When we factor in the addition of Chris Paul for the Rockets, it becomes obvious that Houston is one of the few teams that can keep pace with the Warriors. Where Golden State separates from Houston and seemingly every other team in the league is their ability to shut down opponents with their stifling defense.
Last season, Golden State finished first in steals, second in defensive rating and third in blocks. Not to mention, they have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year on their team in Draymond Green.
The biggest gap between the Warriors and the Rockets lies on the defensive end. We’ll have an opportunity to see how much ground Houston has closed on Golden State on Oct. 16. And yes, it will be fun.