A little earlier this season, head coach Mike D'Antoni made the comment that the Houston Rockets could wake up, fall out of bed and score 100 points.
He's right. Scoring points has never, and will never, be a concern for James Harden and Company. Defense is, and will continue to be, the biggest bugaboo for the Rockets.
While they have shown some pretty impressive defense in some games this season — particularly during December — of late it seems to have dropped off. The slide has not gone unnoticed, and during practice Tuesday, defensive coordinator Jeff Bzdelik acknowledged he's happy to see the defensive play pick back up in the Rockets’ current four-game winning streak.
"They understand the importance of defending, they understand that we just can't turn it on come playoff time, you're going to have rely on your habits come April," Bzdelik said after practice Tuesday. "We need to consistently be developing great habits all the time. We played so many games in so many days that we didn't have a chance to really practice, we didn't have a chance to dissect film and learn and get better. We had slippage, but now we've had a chance to practice and to watch film."
As Bzdelik alluded to, during the team's crazy schedule, it's understandable to see them relax on certain things. But with a little bit of breather and some practice days underneath them, they've held their last three opponents to just about 100 points and when they've been able to do that this season, they are undefeated (16-0).
While it may seem like on the outside that the team only cares about offense and scoring tons of points, they know that if they want to make it deep in the playoffs this season, the defense has to be able to come through. Considering the Rockets are now sniffing at the top 10 in overall defense, it’s clear that with ample preparation — just like they’ll have in the playoffs — the Rockets can hold their own on both ends of the floor.