The 2018-19 Houston Rockets have been the embodiment of inconsistency all season long. One week they seem to be dead in the water and the next they seem ready for liftoff.
Last week, the Rockets were in the former position. Houston was on a three game losing streak, and they had just blown an eight point lead in the final two minutes to be defeated by the rival Mavericks for the second time in a span of a couple of weeks.
Houston seemed to be in danger of letting the season spiral out of control as they had just passed through a relative break in the level of competition and had struggled tremendously and were now set to face high quality Western Conference opponents.
The week, however, turned out to be a pleasant surprise for Houston as it began with a good win against the Portland Trailblazers.
Houston began the game lethargic and trailed 27-12 early in the game but were able to fight back and out score Portland 99-77 the rest of the way as they won 111-104.
A big key in the win was the Rockets bench as they scored 37 points and in particular exceeded with the lineup of Chris Paul, Nene, Gerald Green, James Ennis, and Danuel House Jr. which were a combined +79 for the Rockets when on the floor.
The Rockets then hosted the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday Night. A game that was very eventful as James Harden turned Javale McGee into a wallpaper that will be on every Rockets fan’s phone. The Beard finished with a 50 point triple double that helped carry the Rockets to victory over the Lakers for the second time in as many tries this season.
As for Saturday night, the Rockets were once again victorious as they dominated Memphis in the first half and were able to hang on to beat them 105-97 for their third win in a row. James Harden also finished with another triple double.
Now as good as this week was, Rockets fans must be cautious as Houston has been a team of streaks this entire season.
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As good as Harden was, the same cannot be said for Chris Paul who on the week averaged only 11.7 points on 25% shooting from the field. Eric Gordon, despite being moved to the starting lineup, still struggled this week, averaging only 10.9 points and shooting 5.9% from 3-point range. Yes, that is correct, 5.9%!
James Ennis also suffered another hamstring injury which will likely sideline him for the rest of the week. In order for Houston to continue winning, they will need for Paul and Gordon to step up because this pace is not sustainable if Houston relies on James Harden to have a 30+ triple double every night.
The schedule does not get any easier as Houston will play Utah for the third time this season (they have already lost the first two meetings against them so a win is crucial) and then on Wednesday they get to host Trevor Ariza earlier than expected following the Pheonix-Washington trade as the Wizards come to the Toyota Center (Houston lost to them earlier in the season as well) and then travel to Miami for a tough back to back.
James Harden will not continue to post these numbers consistently without adding even more mileage to his body and risk burning out so in order for Houston to continue this positive trend someone else has to step up to the plate and help him out.
The Rockets currently sit in 12th place in the Western Conference at .500 with a 14-14 record. Another losing streak for Houston and they will immediately return to the bottom of the West.