4 Things the Houston Rockets are doing better than anyone in the West

Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Points Per Game – 119.2 (tied for 1st in NBA)

Going hand-in-hand with how fast the Rockets are playing this season is their league-leading 119.2 points per game average. While they are tied with Milwaukee for best in the league, the next-best team at scoring the ball averages a full three points fewer (Dallas Mavericks at 116.1).

Houston’s already high-octane offense has kicked into overdrive even more with their run-and-gun, outside-shooter heavy approach. They’ve scored more than 150 points twice this season and 130 or more eight times, including their last blowout win over the Timberwolves.

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James Harden (37.7), Russell Westbrook (24.6) and Clint Capela (14.5) lead the team in scoring this season, with three others averaging double-figures: Eric Gordon (12.6), Danuel House (10.5) and Ben McLemore (10.1).

The fact that the Rockets are in the middle of the pack in field-goal percentage at 17th (45.6 percent) is being eclipsed by their love of the long ball, which is our next point of emphasis.

3-Pointers Made & Attempted (Both 1st in NBA)

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Rockets are once again first in 3-pointers attempted and made to this point in the season. They’re shooting a staggering 44.2 shots from beyond the arc per game, which is over three more than the second-place Dallas Mavericks. They’re also making 15.5 of those per game, which means they’re getting nearly 47 points per game from the outside alone.

At 35 percent, Houston is 20th in the league in 3-point shooting percentage, but the sheer volume of threes they’re putting up is essentially negating that on most nights. The team’s heavy reliance on the deep ball has always been a double-edged sword, and I wouldn’t expect that to change this season.

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On nights the team is struggling to hit shots from deep, they have a tough time keeping up with the points they’re allowing, as evidenced by a tough early loss to the Miami Heat in which they shot just 14-of-48. When the team has it rolling from the outside though, they’re simply unstoppable, leading to dominant victories like the one over Atlanta where they put up an insane 158 points.

The 3-pointer is easily Houston’s number one weapon, but to avoid another playoff disappointment, they need to have an easy-to-access backup plan when defenses start honing in on the line.

Next: Drawing Fouls