The Rockets have played two preseason games so far, only one of which was against NBA competition. These games are meaningless, we must tell ourselves.
But man, these meaningless games have been insanely fun. Two blowouts, 261 combined points, two games in which James Harden dropped double-digit assists in three quarters, and two early indications that the offense will be a force to be reckoned with.
Tuesday night against the Knicks, Harden was on another planet, finishing with 28 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds and looking like he’s in the best shape of his life. He found Ryan Anderson wide open all over the court, and Ryno put in 7 three-pointers. He finished with 26 points and 7 rebounds. If the Rockets had played a regular rotation, they might have scored 150 points.
We all laughed and laughed when Mike D’Antoni said he’d like to see the Beard average 12 or 13 assists a game. That was a ridiculous thing to say: John Stockton was the last NBA player to average 12 assists in a game. And it’s still highly, highly unlikely, but it’s starting to not seem like an utterly ridiculous notion.
Anderson is just one player who took advantage of a bunch of open looks. Corey Brewer of all people has hit two three-pointers in each of the past two games, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you remember he went several months at the end of last year without a trey, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
K.J. McDaniels scored 9 points Tuesday night, and hit a three. Nene had 10 and 5. Eric Gordon had 10 points and hit a three. Trevor Ariza had 10 points and hit two threes (on seven tries). The weapons around Harden are myriad.
The defense will remain the concern, and there’s just no way to know how bad it will be until the real games start. But we know the Rockets’ offense is going to be great. It might be downright scary.