Ready for liftoff? Houston Rockets streaking after dreadful start
The Houston Rockets seemed to be lost just a few weeks ago. They were 1-5, winless at home, and getting run out of every gym they played in. Some were beginning to compare this team to the 2015-16 version of the Rockets, who followed up an appearance in the Western Conference Finals with a disappointing 41-41 season.
The 2018-19 version of the Houston Rockets have demonstrated that they are not doomed to repeat the past. Although the Rockets are currently 7-7 (which is on pace for 41-41), this team does not have the same energy that the 15-16′ squad had.
For the most part, the main reason this year’s Rockets team was 1-5 was as simple as that they could not hit shots.
Through the first six games, the Rockets ranked 26th in points per game and 25th in offensive rating. To add to their struggles, Houston’s defense was also terrible during their first six games of the season as their defensive rating was 25th in the league.
After the blowout loss to the Trail Blazers at home, the Rockets began to turn the page defensively.
Mike D’Antoni and Chris Paul have pointed out to a players’ only timeout during a game against the Nets to have been a major turning point in the season.
Since the game in Brooklyn, the Rockets defensive rating has soared to 8th in the league which has been a big reason as to why Houston has been 6-2 beginning with that game.
To add to the Rockets high defensive rating, Houston has also held six of their last seven opponents to under 100 points.
In the past week, Houston’s offense has also begun to catch up with the defense.
In the first six games, Chris Paul was shooting a sluggish 39.3% from the field and was a -12.5 when on the floor for the Rockets.
Eric Gordon was shooting an atrocious 30.6% from the field and only 23.4% from three.
On top of these key players’ struggling to make shots, James Harden was also sidelined with a hamstring injury for multiple games as was James Ennis who also suffered a hamstring injury.
Since then, Chris Paul has raised his field goal percentage to 41.8 and has raised his +/- to -0.7 and Eric Gordon has slowly begun to be more effective in the offense.
Another key to the Rockets resurgence is that Houston has finally been able to set a rotation and use it for multiple games which they were unable to do in the first seven games of the season due to suspensions and injuries.
The emergence of Gary Clark has also been a huge factor to the Rockets success. He has been a perfect fit for the Rockets style and in the last game against Golden State was an exceptional +15 when on the floor.
With the schedule relaxing a bit to end the month, Houston will have a great chance to begin to stockpile wins.