The Rockets, in case you missed it, were the 10th team this season to have a crack at playing the Heat and the Pacers during the same week … and the first of those 10 to win both games. Now let’s see how far Houston can take its 15-2 surge with road games looming in OKC, Chicago and Miami.
The Rockets are the hottest team in basketball and maybe hotter than any team has been all year. The number that gets thrown around these days is 23-6, the Rockets’ record since January 1st. But in reality, I don’t think celebrating the New Year (or the pain of losing to Sacramento on the eve of it) is what turned Houston’s season around. To me, the difference came after that painful second-half collapse to the Thunder on January 16th, when the Rockets only scored 19 points after halftime. A loss like that can deflate a team or it can harden them. And following that game, the Rockets reeled off wins in 11 of their next 13, and have been 18-4 (82% winning%) overall. They just seem more resilient, callous. Instead of wilting under the pressure of LeBron or the Pacers’ defense or Blazers shooting, they’ve become the team that can’t be turned away.
So maybe it wasn’t a revelation-game or an epitome brought on by any one event. Maybe it was just that the team added the biggest free agent in franchise history and then suffered so many nagging injuries that they just needed half a season to coalesce. But whatever it was, the Rockets are a different team than they were 2 months ago when they couldn’t turn the tide against Oklahoma City. And now, this OKC team is vulnerable. With Houston just 2.5 games shy of the best record in the NBA, ESPN is asking silly questions like “Should the Rockets concern the Thunder?“.
I don’t know how the Thunder feel about that, but they damn well should.
“Damian Lillard whines” -
“The way I guard him, the way I guard Steph Curry, the way I guard Chris Paul, the way I guard Goran Dragic, I guard all players the same. I don’t look at film on players. I don’t look at players’ habits. I go out there and impose my will on people and I do what I do, and I’m aggressive on defense.” Read More