Rockets Rising to the Occasion

The Rockets are running on all cylinders with Dwight Howard playing big. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
The Rockets are running on all cylinders with Dwight Howard playing big. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Rodney Fisher

It has been one incredible week of basketball for the Houston Rockets. They go a perfect 5-0 and have now won eight of the last nine games.

The Rockets five game win streak is their longest so far this season. They continue to lead the NBA in points per game, and Dwight Howard is only their third best scorer behind James Harden (26.3 ppg) and Chandler Parsons (17.2). Howard averaging over 12 rebounds per game and constantly going to the foul line late in games will have no problem getting his points. He himself knows that he is bigger weapon for his new team as a decoy rather than the top scorer.

“On every team that Dwight [is] on”, said Tim Duncan after the Spurs lost to the Rockets 112-106, “it seems that focus is inside and the shooters get a lot more open looks.” Houston led by as much as 23 points in Saturday’s big win.

Duncan, in all his NBA wisdom, was absolutely right. The Rockets have hit a league-leading 186 three-pointers this season.

James Harden returned this week after missing three games with a sore foot scoring nine against Brooklyn and 31 against the Spurs. Jeremy Lin filled in for Harden in his absence, but has not played in the last two games. This has given Patrick Beverly a chance to shine. He had 11 points and five assists against the Spurs including a game-clinching tip-in late in the fourth quarter. The lineup of Beverly-Howard-Parsons-Harden-Terrance Jones has statistically been the best coach Kevin McHale has put on the floor.

Chandler Parsons left the game early due to back stiffness and is listed as questionable for Monday’s contest against the Utah Jazz. Parsons (17.2 ppg) is their second leading scorer and has benefited the most by having Howard draw all the attention in the lane.

Three of the next four games are at home and only two of their opponents have winning records. They will get their first shot at the high scoring Golden State Warriors on Friday night. Should be the Battle of 3s since the Warriors rely on long ball also.

Upcoming Schedule
12/2   @Jazz               8:00 PM
12/4   vs Suns             7:00 PM
12/6   vs Warriors    7:00 PM
12/8   @Magic           6:00 PM