Rockets News

Houston Rockets re-find offensive identity against Pacers in win

By Michael Knight
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 11: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets takes a jump shot defended by Cory Joseph #6 of the Indiana Pacers in the first half at Toyota Center on November 11, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 11: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets takes a jump shot defended by Cory Joseph #6 of the Indiana Pacers in the first half at Toyota Center on November 11, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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After struggling to score over the past few games, the Houston Rockets were able to put it all together last night against the Pacers.

Behind their two stars, the Houston Rockets were able to find some offense in their win against a solid Pacers team last night. They scored 115 points after failing to crack 100 in the last four games.

The production from the James Harden and Chris Paul was the key. They had struggled on offense in the past few games and they, obviously, are the main catalysts on that end.

Remember when I said the Rockets would continue to lose as long as their top 3 guys struggled to score?

Well tonight Harden and Paul combined for 66 points on 17-33 from the floor and 13-26 from 3-point range. That’s more like it!

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) November 12, 2018

Harden, in particular, was excellent. He had his first 40-point game of the season and also contributed 9 assists. That type of MVP performance is what the team needed from him, and he sure did deliver.

Chris Paul was great, too. He dropped 26 points on 8/13 shooting, something we haven’t seen from him much this year. The efficiency was very nice to watch and, hopefully, he can continue to be great despite the apparent tendinitis in his shooting elbow.

The 3s

The main reason the Rockets were able to do some damage against a good Pacers defense was that the 3s were dropping. Houston, as per usual, is leading the league in 3s attempted per game. However, they are bottom-five in 3-point percentage, which gets pretty ugly fast.

Last night was a completely different story. The Rockets shot 20/47 from deep, a number that will normally lead to success. It definitely did last night, as the team controlled the game pretty much the entire way. They showed some tired legs at the end, though, probably due to it being the third game in four days.

Harden and Paul combined for 13 of those 20 makes from deep, with the Beard making 8 and CP3 making 5. They both hit some ridiculous ones along the way.

Free throw issues

There is still one big hamper to the offense at the moment, and that’s the free throw line. The Rockets as a whole are shooting just 71.1% from the line after shooting 78% last year. This season’s number has them at No. 24 in the league.

Last night, they left nine points at the line. Thankfully, it didn’t cost them, but it certainly didn’t help. They left nine more points at the line the night before in San Antonio, a game they lost by seven. That’s a very winnable game if free throws are made, even with the other offensive struggles.

I’m sure the issues at the free throw line will even out, as both Harden and Paul are elite in that category. Still, it’s tough to see the Rockets miss out on this many free opportunities. Let’s hope it gets solved soon. At one point yesterday, they were 2/8 from the line and it was tough to watch.

Next. Are the Rockets giving up on Melo too soon?

All-in-all, though, it’s very nice to see the offense of the Rockets come out to play last night. Let’s hope they show up again against the Nuggets, a quietly good defensive team this year (somehow).

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