When the Houston Rockets are at or near full strength, they have been almost unbeatable in the 2017-18 season.
Most people are thrilled about the Houston Rockets’ 64-15 record, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Rockets have a 34-6 record at home and a 30-9 record on the road, both of which lead the NBA. They’ve been able to accomplish this impressive feat despite a host of injuries to many of their best players.
This season, Chris Paul has missed 23 games due to injury. Luc Mbah a Moute has missed 20 games. Trevor Ariza has missed 14 games. Ryan Anderson has missed 13 games. Eric Gordon has missed 11 games. James Harden has missed 9 games. Nene has missed a lot of games due to injury and rest and Brandan Wright was limited to one game with Houston due to knee problems.
Yet, the Rockets have broken their franchise record for most wins in a season and are seven games ahead of the defending champion Warriors.
Houston’s depth allows them to truly adopt a “next man up” mindset whenever a player is injured. Having both Paul and Harden affords the Rockets with the luxury of having one Hall-of-Fame point guard on the floor at all times. Not to mention that they can both carry the entire offensive load when the other is injured.
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But when Houston’s main pieces have been healthy, they’ve been almost unbeatable. Ryan Anderson was the starting power forward for most of the season, but Mike D’Antoni decided that P.J. Tucker‘s elite defense made him a better fit for the starting unit. He was right.
Tucker took on his permanent starter role back on Feb. 7, and the Rockets have lost just two games since. When Paul, Harden, Ariza, Tucker and Capela are all healthy, the Rockets are 18-1.
In the 43 games that Capela, Harden and Paul have played together, the Rockets have won a staggering 41 of those contests. And in the games that Harden and Paul have started together, Houston is 43-4. Not too shabby for two point guards that supposedly couldn’t play together.
Clearly, health is the main priority for the Houston Rockets going forward. If the Rockets have their top eight guys healthy heading into the playoffs, they’ll have a great chance to make the NBA Finals.