The Rockets were without six potential players tonight: James Harden, Luc Mbah a Moute, Nene, Tarik Black, Troy Williams, and Zhou Qi. Houston seriously only had eight guys suit up tonight and Mike D’Antoni only played seven for majority of the game. Briante Weber, the eighth man, played the last six minutes in the fourth quarter, where the Rockets never led by less than 20 points.
Chris Paul has stepped up with his teammates sidelined and has taken on more of a leadership role. We saw a lot of traditional CP3 tonight and he took many midrange shots, which seems anti-Rockets, but I don’t think Coach D’Antoni can complain about this performance. CP3 made two of his six threes but took 12 shots from inside the arc, making seven of those.
With Harden out, the Rockets are 4-2 so far. CP3 is running the team the way he desires and it seems to be working for the Rockets. He’s getting all of his teammates involved and tonight was the pinnacle of that idea. Paul was one of six Rockets in double figures and had a team-high 25 points.
To mix with CP3’s solid night, Eric Gordon had more of a mixed night. Gordon made just two of 12 threes, but still ended up with 14 points. Gerald Green also had a mediocre evening from the field, sinking just one of his eight threes.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the evening was Ryan Anderson, who had 18 points on the night, including this emphatic deuce in the fourth quarter.
All in all, the Rockets had a good night, despite shooting just 41.5 percent. The Suns shot 46.3 percent but where the Rockets totally dominated this game was on the boards. Houston outrebounded Phoenix 53-38 and was led by Clint Capela, who grabbed 16 boards to pair with 17 points. The rebounding advantage allowed the Rockets to take 14 more shots than the Suns and was ultimately what tilted the game in the Rockets’ favor.
The win marks the third consecutive victory for the Rockets and concludes the first half of the season for the team. At 30-11 through the first 41 games, the team is on pace for 60, which would be a franchise record. It’s the best record at the halfway point for the Rockets since 1996-97, so enjoy this guys. We’re in the middle of one of the greatest Rockets seasons in history.
The second half of the season starts Monday as the team heads to LA to face CP3’s old team in the Los Angeles Clippers. Tipoff is at 9:30 CT.