Watch: 10 Recent shots by the Houston Rockets that could win H-O-R-S-E

Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

With the NBA announcing an upcoming televised H-O-R-S-E competition, we take a look back at the best circus shots from the Houston Rockets in recent years.

While recent reports suggest the NBA is preparing for the worst-case scenario that would see them canceling the rest of the season, that’s not stopping them from being creative. While nobody from the Houston Rockets is currently participating in the league’s NBA 2K tournament, there’s a good chance they could have a representative in a new event.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Saturday that the NBA and ESPN are working on organizing a televised competition of H-O-R-S-E that will involve high-profile talent.

While no names have been confirmed yet, New York Post columnist Andrew Marchand revealed Russell Westbrook as someone that could potentially take part in the event.

Names I've heard that could be involved are Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Donovan Mitchell & possibly Zion Williamson. None are confirmed yet.

— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) April 4, 2020

The choice would make sense, as Westbrook is one of the most acrobatic players the league has ever seen and would thrive in such a contest. The Rockets’ other superstar, James Harden, would also make for a great addition to the competition, as he’s had some unreal circus shots over the course of his career.

The NBA has experimented with including H-O-R-S-E in All-Star Weekend before — once during the 1977-78 season and two more times in 2009 and 2010. After the event never really gained much traction, the league decided to cancel it.

Kevin Durant won both recent competitions and participated in the NBA 2K tournament, so it will be interesting to see if he returns to defend his crown 10 years later.

While we await more details on how the contest will work and when it will take place, let’s take a look back at 10 of the best circus shots by Houston Rockets in the last five years that would be tough to beat in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

Westbrook’s athleticism makes him a likely candidate to dominate a game of H-O-R-S-E, so we’ll start with some of his best circus shots.

We’ll start with this flip shot against the Lakers in the playoffs, in which a last-ditch effort to foul him in the open court only made things worse for Los Angeles.

Even when he doesn’t mean to, he can still provide spectacular finishes at the hoop, just like he did on a drive to the hoop after beating Stephen Curry to the cup. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good — or sometimes both.

Against the San Antonio Spurs in 2016, Russell proved that just because a shot isn’t legal doesn’t mean it’s not impressive. Could you imagine trying to imitate this shot in H-O-R-S-E?

When it comes to tough finishes, it’s tough to beat James Harden. When he’s got a step on you, sometimes the only option is to foul him. But then again, sometimes this happens when you do:

Danuel House has also had a few circus shots in his career, one of them being this fourth-quarter desperation heave that found nothing but the bottom against the New Orleans Pelicans last season.

And this interesting drive to the basket against the Phoenix Suns a couple of years ago.

Former Rocket Trevor Ariza had some acrobatic finished of his own throughout his tenure, such as this reverse layup against the Utah Jazz.

Chris Paul is involved in the rumors going around in terms of who might be participating in the H-O-R-S-E event. He probably couldn’t bust anything like this out since they will be shooting at home gyms, which is fortunate for potential opponents:

Is this considered a circus shot? Either way, fun memory. #NBAHorse

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) April 4, 2020

Just about anyone that’s played H-O-R-S-E has tried and maybe even perfected the over-the-backboard shot. Doing it in the middle of a game, however? Just another shot for Corey Brewer.


— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) April 4, 2020

And finally, another playoff entry finishes things off, as former Rocket Clint Capela uses incredible strength and focus to finish this shot while basically flat on his back.

I've fallen into a rabbit-hole of circus shots. Here's one from Clint Capela in 2017:

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) April 4, 2020

I would expect an announcement within the next day or two about who will be the official participants in the NBA’s newest event, as they seem to be moving quickly to continue entertaining their fans in some way.

Next. 3 Reasons Perkins is wrong about Harden's OKC exit

Let’s hope we get to see a current and past Rocket or two as we continue to wait out this growing hiatus.