The Houston Rockets are playing some good basketball right now, despite losing their latest game against the diminished New York Knicks. Russell Westbrook and James Harden have taken this team to be a real threat in the Western Conference after all the comments made on their chemistry issues and more.
Further, after they decided to part ways with Clint Capela and stop playing with a pure center at the trade deadline, there were more concerns about their future. Luckily, the Rockets have figured things out and now are one of the best teams in the league.
They had won six straight games before losing to the Knicks on Monday night, 125-123, and had won 10 of their last 12 matches. Those results have led people to believe their finally a contender in the West, even to compete against the biggest team of the conference, Lakers and Clippers.
For instance, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith explained he’s worried the Rockets could damage the Western Conference Finals every NBA fan wants to see. Smith explained the Rockets could surpass the Clippers in the West standings and that could make them face the Lakers in the second round, not in the WCF while pointing out Russell Westbrook can play a big role in their championship run.
“Russell Westbrook is only shooting 25% from 3-point range. That’s something we gotta be mindful of because anybody would be able to force him when playoffs arrive, defenses get back, the pace slows down a little bit, etc. If the Houston Rockets are able to continue this pace, forcing people to go small in an attempt to try to guard them, they could go to the Finals. Russell Westbrook is gonna be the one to determine that because even if James Harden is dropping 50, that’s something that we’ve seen before and we could predict. The Russell Westbrook element, the way he forces you to open up your defense -- Russell Westbrook is the most evil basketball player in the game. He is a killer, he don’t care about anything that ain’t wearing that uniform, he don’t care about anything.”
Contrary to what people believed at the start of the season, Russ has proven he can be a valuable piece for Houston, who are now trying to continue their good pace and finish the season the best possible way.
It looked like the Denver Nuggets were the only team with chances to eliminate the Lakers or Clippers, but don’t sleep on these Rockets. Those guys look hungry.