Rockets’ title chances
When the Houston Rockets landed Russell Westbrook, the basketball world didn’t know what to expect regarding the Rockets’ title chase. On the surface it appeared that the Rockets were giving up a player in CP3 who was a natural fit in MDA’s offense due to his ability to pass and shoot treys, for a player who played at a frenetic pace that we hadn’t seen the Rockets play with.
Many thought the Rockets were primed to finish in the middle of the pack as it pertained to the Western Conference playoff race, and rightfully so. There were questions regarding how he and James Harden would play together, as many erroneously perceived them as two players who care more about statistical milestones than team success. With only one ball, surely this wouldn’t work, right?
Westbrook has reminded the naysayers of the difference maker he can be, and he’s brought a tenacity we’ve not seen on the Rockets. Harden is leading the league in scoring yet again, and the duo has led the Rockets to already one of the better records in the Western Conference. Tilman spoke on the team’s early success.
“We’re really good,” Fertitta said in a half-hour phone conversation Monday. “We’ve lost a few games on last-second 3-pointers when we were ahead by two or we would be right there as the second seed now…..We just need to get home court for the first and second rounds and see what happens.”
Fertitta is of course referencing the Rockets’ December 9th home loss to the Sacramento Kings, which came on a buzzer-beater by Nemanja Bjelica and the February 9th loss to the Utah Jazz in which Bojan Bogdanovic drained a miraculous shot to end the game. As Fertitta mentions, the Rockets would have the second seed in the West were it not for these losses, which is encouraging considering the fact that the Houston Rockets have also lost eight games to non-contending teams.
The Harden/Westbrook tandem hasn’t needed nearly the adjustment period which was expected, and they’ve already gotten some of the more prominent national analysts on board.