4. Key #4: Rockets have played at any pace
Some teams need to play at a certain pace to be successful, and then some teams are the Rockets over their six-game winning streak. In game one, against the Bulls, the Rockets played at 105 possession pace. In game two, they bested the Charlotte Hornets at a 96 possession pace, game three, 103.8, game four, 96.9, game five, 99.6, and game six, 89.3.
The Rockets’ ability to win play slow, fast, and in-between should bode well for the rest of the season. The Rockets won’t be able to control the pace of every game. Fortunately, that won’t hurt their chances.
5. Key #5: More Jae’Sean Tate
On December 1st, Jae’Sean Tate powered the Rockets over the Oklahoma City Thunder to extend their win streak to four games. His career-best game contained a 32 point outburst and showed what he can do with an expanded role.
However, Tate’s contribution to the win streak wasn’t a one-off. Over the Rockets’ first 17 games, Tate had a usage rate of 18.4-percent, but during their six-game win streak, his usage has climbed to 21.8-percent.
A 3-percent swing in usage may not seem like much, but it’s a significant increase in offensive responsibility for Tate. He went from averaging 11.1 points per game on 9.1 field goal attempts to 16.2 points on 11.7. Tate might not be a superstar, but the Rockets’ six-game winning streak proves that more Tate is a winning strategy.
6. Key #6: Assists
With the holiday season upon us, the Rockets decided to get in the giving spirit. Each game from their six-game win streak has been one of their best assist nights. Their victories over the Hornets, Magic, and Thunder (on November 29th) are one, two, and three in assists for the Rockets this season.
In fact, all six of their wins have been in the Rockets’ top-8 for assists this season. When the Rockets are moving the ball their offense comes to life.
The Rockets’ six-game winning streak will be put to the test when they face the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. The Nets will be on the second night of a back-to-back and the Rockets will have had two full days of rest. If they can stick to the six keys to their six-game win streak, they’ll have a shot to push it to seven.