3. The Rockets are at their best when they play great defense
When the Houston Rockets started the season 11-14, one of the most obvious weaknesses was the team’s poor defensive effort. Night after night, their perimeter defense wasn’t up to par, as they gave up too many easy points in the paint and they got pummeled on the boards night after night.
The Rockets have been working to correct their defensive errors from earlier in the season, and it showed. Houston gave up just 103.7 points per 100 possessions, giving them the second best defensive rating in the league in March.
Houston finished second in the league in steals and fourth in opponent’s turnovers last month. The team has also done a much better job at limiting easy points, as the Rockets ranked 11th in opponent’s points in the paint.
Re-signing Danuel House and getting Iman Shumpert has definitely helped Houston’s versatility on defense, as has the team’s overall health. James Harden has also stepped up huge on defense, averaging a career high 2.1 steals per game.
But overall, the Rockets have just given more effort on defense. They have players that aren’t afraid to dive after loose balls and defensive miscommunications have become increasingly rare. This is exactly the type of focus the Rockets have to carry into the postseason if they want to have great success.
Next: No. 2