The Houston Rockets are the new nightmare matchup in the NBA

The Houston Rockets have kinda beat the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics over the past week.

We said kinda!

Seriously, save that Bogdan Bogdanovic buzzer-beater, the Brodie, the Beard and the boys are ballin’.

Alliteration, anyone? Anybody?

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Moving on.

Last week, the Rockets traded Clint Capela – a shot-blocking, rim-running, lob-catching center – for Robert Covington – a medium-sized, three-point shooting maestro.

Now, with Covington in the fold, the Rockets are an entirely different team, just like they planned to be.

And if they keep being the team we’ve seen over the past four games, Houston will officially represent the scariest team in the Western Conference Playoffs – maybe in the NBA.

Indeed, nightmares are scary. When it comes to basketball, Houston is playing the role of Freddie Krueger – a nightmare come to life.

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In the four games since acquiring Covington, the Rockets’ offense has been what its always been: an intrasquad three-point shooting contest.

They average a league-leading 43.9 attempted threes per game – of which they make 15.2 – and have shot a little over 44 over the past four games, connecting on 14.5.

But the three-point shooting isn’t what has stood out since Covington’s arrival.

And what a partnership it has been in recent days.

The scary part of those statistics is that Harden is not playing his best and Westbrook hasn’t begun to find the open man like in the last four seasons, when he averaged over 10 assists per game.

What happens when Harden gets his stroke back and Westbrook goes back to scoring and facilitating?

We’re not sure because it hasn’t happened quite yet.

But what we do know is in Covington’s first game, the Rockets beat the Lakers – the West’s best team – at STAPLES Center by 10, and a few nights later – after a loss to Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back without Russell Westbrook – Houston nearly defeated the West’s fourth-best team, the Utah Jazz.

And on Tuesday night, the Rockets beat the East’s third-best team by 11, behind a combined 78 points from Harden and Westbrook.

Again, who wants to face this in the playoffs?

Or this?

Sure, 6-foot-5 P.J. Tucker is now the Rockets’ center and the internet thinks it’s funny – along with Tucker.

Still, he is key to the Rockets small-ball lineup, and forces the other team’s big man to guard him at the three-point line.

True. Any team can run into a bad matchup.

But now, Harden and Westbrook have even more space and freedom than ever before.

And that makes Houston a bad matchup for everyone.