The Houston Rockets are cruising. Since forward James Ennis went down with an injured hamstring back on December 11, the team is a scorching 7-1 that includes wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Boston Celtics, who all have winning records. They’re 3-0 since Chris Paul suffered a hamstring injury of his own.
Of course, a lot of this success is owed to James Harden, who is currently in the midst of quite possibly the most dominant stretch of ball of his career, but the rest of the Rockets have stepped up as well.
Clint Capela, after a slow start, is playing how we thought he would heading into the year. Eric Gordon is slowly starting to turn things around after a horrid beginning to the season, and Gerald Green, Nene, and the newly acquired Austin Rivers are holding down Houston’s second unit, giving the Rockets a suddenly effective bench after the second team also struggled to start the year.
And now, they’re about to get just a little bit closer to full strength, as Ennis is slated to return to the court either this Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans or Monday versus the Memphis Grizzlies, according to the Houston Chronicle. Ennis, apparently, would like to give it a go against the Pels, but head coach Mike D’Antoni said that Monday was more likely, though he was waiting on further updates from the team’s medical staff.
Getting Ennis back will be a clear boost to the Rockets, who’ll welcome back his speed and athleticism in the open court and his solid shooting from deep (36.3 percent). He’ll likely step back into the starting lineup in place of Danuel House, who’s been running at starting forward since CP3 went down. And it’ll be interesting to see how D’Antoni manages his bench with the team getting healthier and Rivers earning himself minutes as well.
It’s a good problem to have though, and with the team rounding into shape on the court, in addition to getting healthier, we could be witnessing a turning point in this Rockets season.
Welcome back, James!