The Rockets are clicking on all cylinders after the seventh week of the 2016-17 NBA season. “Clutch City” is 14-7 and have won eight of their last 10 games.
Last night, they squeaked out a narrow, Avery Bradley-shoe size length victory against the Boston Celtics. The impressive, 107-106 win over the feisty Celtics was not even the most notable game of the 3-1 week.
On Dec. 1, Houston outlasted the Golden State Warriors in double overtime behind a ridiculous 29-15-13 triple double from James Harden. Offseason acquisitions Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson combined for 52 points in the contest.
Gordon has particularly stepped up his game recently, even after he was relegated to a bench role with Patrick Beverley back in the starting lineup. In the past five games, Gordon is averaging 22 points on a scorching 50% (22/44) from behind the arc. That’s right, Gordon is launching almost nine three-pointers per game and nailing half of them.
The Rockets are riding Harden and Clint Capela while enjoying major contributions from Gordon, Anderson, and second-year power forward Sam Dekker.
When Mike D’Antoni’s squad is operating like a well-oiled machine, they are a tough group to stop. Houston is ranked third in offensive rating, a metric that estimates the points scored per 100 possessions, only behind the Warriors and Toronto Raptors.
Their high-powered offense has garnered the attention the NBA community and their quality wins earn respect.
CBS Sports has the Rockets ranked ahead of the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers following their win over the Warriors. Writer Matt Moore cites Patrick Beverley’s return as a device to sparkplug the defense and help improve the second unit. Beverley’s instant impact is evident in his plus/minus (+/-), as he is plus-44 in his past two games over just 57 minutes.
By beating the Warriors, Nuggets, and Celtics, the Rockets have proven that they are among the elite teams in the NBA and should not be taken lightly.