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SBNation: Whoa, the Rockets look even more powerful than we thought

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Shaq2Yao, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Shaq2Yao

    Shaq2Yao Member

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    https://www.sbnation.com/2019/4/15/18311038/rockets-vs-jazz-highlights-game-1-james-harden-defense

    The Rockets had their way with one of the NBA’s top defenses in Game 1. The scary thing is they could just be getting started.
    By Kristian Winfield@Krisplashed Apr 15, 2019, 9:46am EDT

    The Rockets absolutely pummeled the Jazz into oblivion, running away with a 122-90 win in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday. Houston flexed every offensive muscle, then like Popeye, flexed muscles on top of muscles we didn’t know existed.

    Utah checked in as the second-best defense in the NBA during the regular season, holding opponents to an average of 105.2 points per 100 possessions. The Jazz, however, had no answer for the Rockets, and not just James Harden.

    Harden, of course, was the best player on the floor, turning in 29 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds. Utah tried a unique way of defending him, ushering him to the rim much like Milwaukee did in the regular season. Yet Harden found ways to dice their defense up anyway, shattering an approach that had modest success previously.

    When Harden wasn’t looking for his own shot, he allowed others to flourish. Seven Houston players scored in double-figures, with an eighth just one point shy.

    We knew the Rockets would be good. Hell, it’d be negligent to think otherwise. This is a team that was a game away from an NBA Finals appearance last year. Then, somehow, their superstar took his game to astronomical levels.

    But the Jazz were supposed to be a tough draw, a physical defense that gave a red-hot offense some problem. It’s only been one game, but on the surface, the Rockets’ Game 1 bludgeoning speaks volumes.

    They’ve had a sour taste in their mouths for a year. Now, it’s time to cleanse the palate.

    The Rockets might be better than we thought they were

    And, man, we already thought they were good.

    Harden averaged 43 points in the month of January this season, putting the Rockets on his back one unfathomable scoring barrage after another. He did all this while his Houston teammates battled injury after injury. Now, they’re finally healthy, and they look like a team ready for war.

    Houston got off to a terrible start to the season, after a their terrible summer. They let Trevor Arizaand Luc Mbah a Moute walk, signed Carmelo Anthony, then exiled Melo before trading him to Chicago. For a few weeks, the Rockets were laughable. I even wrote they weren’t real threats to the Western Conference crown. For a while, I was right.

    But Harden went on a tear right on time, then his teammates caught up to him. They began looking like the team that was a Chris Paul injury and 27 straight missed threes away from a championship appearance. That team is back in the playoffs and looking like their old selves.

    These Rockets lit up the best statistical defense they’ll see in the postseason, unless they meet the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals. If they keep it up for three more games, Houston will then meet Golden State in the second round. Their rematch would be a round earlier than anticipated, but if they advance, their pathway to the Finals is as easy as it’ll ever be.

    The Jazz won’t come out and be embarrassed again. Utah will make changes, figure out ways to get better, and come back with a chip on their shoulder.

    But if a top-two NBA defense can’t stop the Rockets on a modest night for James Harden, what are the rest of these playoff teams supposed to do? If only for one game, Houston looks ridiculously good. If this is what we’re to expect on a nightly basis, the real NBA Finals might be in the second round.
     
  2. dc rock

    dc rock Contributing Member

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    From last year's playoffs, the Rockets replaced Ariza, an injured Mbah Moute, and a stupefied Ryno with Danuel House, Kenny Faried, and Austin Rivers. Plus, Capela has improved significantly. This team is better than the one that was a hamstring away from knocking out the Warriors in six games.
     
    #2 dc rock, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  3. D-rock

    D-rock Member

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    Even end of bench better - Shump is better than Iso Joe.
     
  4. cebu

    cebu Member

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    we have too many offensive options and it's good to see that they're exploring that.

    I think it's a blessing in disguise that we're positioned to play GSW in 2nd round because CP3 has more fresh legs and. we're going to need quicker line up against them. While the 3rd we'll need big men.
     
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  5. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    On thing that is always overlooked in analysis, until an ugly loss, is turnovers.

    Or sometimes its just presented as, well, Harden has high usage.

    And its true. I think Giannis had a higher TO% rate than Harden this year.

    But it should still be noted.

    The Rockets had 10 turnovers. The Jazz 18. Harden only had 3 turnovers. CP3 had more with 4. If Harden is turning the ball over 4 or fewer times a game, the Rockets offense is flourishing.
     
  6. Plowman

    Plowman Contributing Member

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    You think?

    Feels good to read that. :)
     
  7. samtaylor

    samtaylor Member

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    Austin Rivers will be such a huge advantage for us this playoffs. Last year our only ball handlers were Harden, CP3, and Gordon, so when CP3 went down, it put a lot more on Eric Gordon's shoulders.
     
  8. duluth111222

    duluth111222 I.D.I.O.T

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    You forgot the biggest difference: James Focking Harden is on a historic level this season.
     
  9. cebu

    cebu Member

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    he can definitely chase smaller shooting guards.
     
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  10. RocketsFan247

    RocketsFan247 Member

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    Not one mention of Gerald Green, mid range assassin!
     
  11. SemisolidSnake

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    Very good article. Not just saying that because I'm a Rockets fan. It accurately reflects the strange metamorphosis of the Rockets' season up to this point.

    SBNation once again doing what dozens of millionaire sports personalities backed by billion-dollar entities can't even hope to do if they even wanted to.
     
  12. saleem

    saleem Contributing Member

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    If he starts scoring 12-13 points a game along with his terrific defense, it will be a big boost for us. His ball handling is better than EG's.
     
  13. saleem

    saleem Contributing Member

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    He is a three point weapon now too.
     
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  14. RocketsFan247

    RocketsFan247 Member

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    Oh really? Would love to see that evolution in Game 2.
     
  15. saleem

    saleem Contributing Member

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    He has shown that in the regular season. I believe he can do that for short periods like House in the playoffs. His shortcomings on defense are problematic though, which limits his minutes.
     
  16. rocketsfan611

    rocketsfan611 Member

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    TRUTH.
     
  17. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Gerald Green is like Mad Max to me. He can shoot ridiculous fadeaway off balance 3s with laser precision some nights and go 0-7 in 7 minutes of play the next game. He's streaky. Great when he's on.

    Really, I just appreciate the depth the Rockets have. Expectations are CP3, Harden and Capela are gonna get theirs. But you still need EG, Rivers, Faried, Green, House or Shump to go off on any particular night for 18-20+ to really make the Rockets offense elite. It's nice knowing that Green can have an off game and you can likely count on EG, Rivers, Faried or House to go off instead.
     
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  18. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld ಠ_ರೃ
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    Shump sucks, but you might still be right. We basically had Iso Joe's corpse on the roster last year.
     
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  19. Tfor3

    Tfor3 Member

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    Nice read!

    We rollin, we stacked!
     
    Hakeemtheking likes this.
  20. saleem

    saleem Contributing Member

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    I can agree with all the names on that list apart from Shumpert. He can't be relied upon to give you even 5 points a game right now.
     
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