Houston Rockets: Player grades from tone-setting, wire-to-wire victory

Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Chris Paul James Harden (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets Starters

A +. With the weight of the entire city of Houston on his shoulders, James Harden delivered. Like everyone else, Oklahoma City knew they were going to have trouble stopping The Beard — and the expectation became reality in Game 1. Harden hit several timely buckets when the Thunder were even sniffing a run, with those shots often being demoralizing step back threes or running floaters. Harden finished the night with 37 points on 12-of-22 shooting while also recording 11 rebounds and three assists.. Guard. Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN

C +. Robert Covington did some work on the boards and was his usual active self on defense, but the confidence he has in his shooting still seems to be gone. Going 1-for-6 overall with five of those attempts being 3-pointers, Covington just doesn’t look comfortable with his release right now. Fortunately, he still does plenty of other things on the court that helps the Rockets win basketball games, and it’s still early.. Forward. Houston Rockets. ROBERT COVINGTON

Houston Rockets. P.J. TUCKER. A. When you get into a rebounding battle with Steven Adams and he’s the one that almost gets injured, you know you’re a bulldog. P.J. Tucker set the tone early of just how much effort the Rockets were going to need. Battling for offensive boards keeping possessions alive, Tucker did a lot on the court that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. He also nailed three of his eight shots from downtown to end the night with 11 points.. Forward

A +. Well, well, well. Many thought that Eric Gordon wasn’t going to be very effective in the playoffs, given the rough season he’s had. Everyone should’ve known better. Gordon was aggressive on drives, from deep, and with his playmaking. As a result, he finished with 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Eric also got to the line for five attempts, sinking them all. As Stan Van Gundy said on the TNT broadcast, this version of Eric Gordon is going to scare a lot of coaches in the West.. Small Forward. Houston Rockets. ERIC GORDON

Houston Rockets. DANUEL HOUSE. A. Danuel House kind of blended into the background in this game, but that’s perfectly fine when so many guys were going off. In 28 minutes, House didn’t turn the ball over while leading the team in assists — such are the wonders of small ball when your starting small forward can do that. He also made half of his eight attempts from the field to finish with nine points and had a couple of nice transition buckets against multiple defenders.. Small Forward

Next: The Bench