After a rough start, the Rockets have added two more wins, boosting the streak up to five total. While still improving record-wise, Houston looks better as of late and teams are starting to take notice.
Remember how the Rockets were Western Conference bottom feeders with the likes of the Phoenix Suns? Recall how Carmelo Anthony didn’t work? While there is much work to be done, the Houston Rockets five-game winning streak is a start. Last season, when Houston went on streaks like this, they ended up winning 10 or more games in a row three different times. Perhaps this is the fuel needed to propel the Rockets back into contention.
Offensively, the team has seriously regained their mojo. In fact, Houston has scored 100 or more points in each victory during this streak. However, work still needs to be done on the defensive end and in the rebounding category. Nonetheless, improvement is a good thing. And boy did the Rockets need this.
This week’s list of victims included the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards, who recently acquired former Rocket Trevor Ariza.
Stats vs. Jazz
P.J. Tucker: 16 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Clint Capela: 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 blocks
Indeed, the Harden dunk on Gobert was nasty. While Houston may have relied too much on their superstar, he had the hot hand and dropped the hammer on them. Guys like Eric Gordon and Gerald Green need to step it up more often to contribute on the offensive end.
However, the game had its fair share of drama. Late in the 4th quarter, Utah had a nice run, cutting the lead down to two in the final three minutes. Unfortunately for the Jazz, Harden could not be stopped. And he ended up draining the go-ahead three-pointer from Baytown. That’s deep.
In the past, Harden has been heavily criticized for his lack of defense. However, this past game displays his vision and court awareness during important stretches. Add in four more steals from Chris Paul and it was enough to cause a disruption in the Jazz’s passing lanes. Overall a great victory in crunch time. Not a pretty one, but a win is a win.
Then came the game against the Wizards.
Stats vs. Wizards
James Harden: 35 points, 9 assists, 2 steals
Chris Paul: 21 points, 8 assists, 2 steals
Clint Capela: 20 points, 12 rebounds, 1 block
An old friend received a tribute video during the game. Trevor Ariza, who unfortunately was a part of the trade debacle that eventually sent him to D.C. has played a big role in Houston’s recent success. However, the homecoming took a back seat to history. Indeed, the Rockets knocked down 26 three-pointers. Yes, 26 threes.
However, the person that broke the record is even more surprising. Michael Carter-Williams hit the Rockets final three-pointer. A career 25% three point shooter made history. The NBA. Where amazing happens. Against Washington, the Rockets fired away and scored 136 points to the tune of a great offensive performance. Unfortunately, another big issue that emerged from this game Houston’s turnovers. 15 total as a matter of fact.
Regardless, the Rockets had a pretty comfortable lead from the start of the game. This five-game winning streak is a sign of good things. However, there is still plenty to improve on if this squad realistically wants a shot at the title.
Overall, the five-game winning streak adds hope to the Rockets and all seems to be alright in Houston. Watch out for any moves Daryl Morey might inquire about to bolster the bench.
Fix the turnovers, defend and rebound harder, and this squad looks to be trending back up the Western Conference. Get ready Red Nation. The season is back on track.