Man it’s good to be back, and have the newsletter feel like it’s old self. A breath of fresh air I say, but let’s quickly move on. How about the Houston Rockets who are 2-0 in the bubble following a wildly entertaining overtime thriller against Dallas and a robust defensive win over Milwaukee on Sunday.
Overlooking these two games, the Rockets showed us that they could win in two very different ways. Example one, outgunning the Mavericks by scoring 153 points for the game and shoot a season-high 61 three-pointers and make 21 of them. A strange little fact here, Houston’s 16-1 when they make 19 or more 3-pointers in a game. Example two, lock up defensively in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to complete a comeback win against the Bucks. James Harden the scorer, and Russell Westbrook the driver, were on center stage and pivotal pieces for both wins.
Focusing on Westbrook, he’s having one of his best seasons in, wait for it, efficiency, as he’s shooting a career-high 47.3% from the field. It’s all due to the spacing that the team gives Russell as every corner is filled with shooters. The Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni, is the master at maximizing his player’s talent around him, and their small-ball style of play fits perfectly with Westbrook and Harden.
The Rockets are a super weird team to watch and go against the grain in nearly every basketball tradition in winning games. But as the team’s chemistry and strategic plan strengthens, so has their confidence with their small-ball style of play. They now jump to the fourth seed in the West after the two wins, and it’s an early indication that they can hang with any contender.
Catch you Thursday.