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Houston Rockets: 5 takeaways from the first 20 games of the season

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets have already played in 20 games in the 2017-18 season. What are the five biggest takeaways thus far?

The Houston Rockets came into the season with big expectations, and they haven’t disappointed.

The 16-4 Rockets have the best record in the Western Conference and the second best record in the league. They have the league’s second longest win streak (5) and they have won 11 of their last 12 games.

Houston isn’t just beating their opponents, they’re dismantling them. The Rockets have won each of their last five games by an average margin of victory of 21.4 points while making 19.0 3-pointers per game over that span. Houston has a plus/minus of 10.3 on the season, which is the second best in the league.

The Rockets have used their arsenal of 3-point shooters to out score their opponents, but what’s been most impressive is their defense. Mike D’Antoni, James Harden and the Rockets haven’t been known for their defense, but this year’s team could turn that reputation around. The Rockets have been able to hold their own against the best teams in the league, and their increased intensity and focus on defense is a big part of that.

What’s so impressive about Houston’s hot start is that Chris Paul has been sidelined with a knee injury for the majority of the season. The superstar point guard has only appeared in six games this season, including the last five, and the Rockets are undefeated when Paul suits up. Having two Hall of Fame caliber point guards on the same team is a luxury that most franchises don’t have, and that leads us to the first takeaway.

Next: No. 5

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