The Houston Rockets appear to like playing basketball together, and that’s set them up to be a good basketball team.
Despite a rough shooting night from James Harden, the Houston Rockets came away with a win against the Dallas Mavericks. There were many notable aspects of the game, but one thing stood out to me. When the team is at their best, they seem to enjoy playing together. There are high fives going around and an excitement that wasn’t there last year.
There will certainly be tougher games ahead of them than against the Dirkless Mavs, but the atmosphere of camaraderie will be one of the binding factors that helps the Rockets be successful.
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Matt Moore of CBS Sports assessed the Rockets’ watchability through the first few games. Sure enough, the team passes the eye test. Houston won’t necessarily compete for a title this spring, but they will certainly be part of many must-see games.
Man, K.J. McDaniels, after being stuck on the bench the past two years, has picked up Corey Brewer’s minutes early on, and the results are pretty fantastic. He’s knocking down 3-pointers, running the floor and attacking passing lanes — perfect for a D’Antoni system. He hasn’t been a threat to hit from deep in the past, so defenders are abandoning covering him to help strong side, which means when he uses his athleticism to attack.
Defensively, Capela is already an eager, active defender who’s quick enough to stay in front of guards on perimeter switches and, thanks to his long arms, was able to hold opponents to a lowly 47.3 field goal percentage while defending at the rim last year compared to Howard’s 49.4 percent.
Obviously, the player most responsible for making the Rockets exciting is James Harden. Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report ranked the Beard in the top 10 best superstars in the league due to his playmaking and scoring. As a biased fan, I’d argue top 3. I’d also argue he should win MVP, but I digress. Either way, Harden will be a fun player to watch in 2016-2017.
Harden made his season debut against the Los Angeles Lakers with 34 points and 17 assists, joining Rajon Rondo, Tim Hardaway, Jason Kidd and John Stockton as one of just five players to tally that many dimes in an opener. At this point, we can officially consider him a point guard—and a dominant one, at that.
The Rockets are only three games into the season, but there has been more good than bad so far. Tuesday’s game agains the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a rude awakening, but Harden and company have looked great early.