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Rockets make major late-season addition: Eric Gordon’s shooting stroke

After months of below-league-average shooting, Gordon returned from the long layoff on fire, finally

2018 JBL Three-Point Contest Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

What if I told you that the Houston Rockets have been the best team in the league, and the most-prolific three-point shooting team in NBA history, and their best shooter has been on a season-long shooting slump?

What if I told you that that same shooter seems to have officially snapped out of said slump? Would that intrigue you?

Well, it’s not a hypothetical: it’s true. Eric Gordon was shooting below 34 percent from deep before the All-Star break, good for his worst performance from deep since 2013. He went into the break sitting out a few games with a back injury, and came out of it still on the shelf with an illness.

In his four games since, Gordon has been on fire, shooting 19-39 from deep, good for a .487 percentage, raising his season shooting average more than a full percentage point in just four games.

Yes, yes, it’s only four games of hot shooting, and Gordon has had stretches like this before. But the past four games have looked different. He is more comfortable throughout the shooting motion, launching more fluidly, and many of his makes have been pure swishes.

This is anecdotal evidence, sure, but shooters are all about confidence, and for months, Gordon has looked less comfortable launching from the outside than he did last year, when he hit 37.2 percent of his three-pointers.

Gordon’s subpar deep shooting has not stopped him or his team from improving on last year’s efficiency. Overall, the Rockets’ shooting from deep is up (from 35.7 percent last year to 36.7 percent through 63 games this season), and Gordon’s true shooting percentage and eFG% are both higher than they were last year.

Gordon won the Sixth Man of the Year last year with averages of 16.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists. This year, he’s scoring 18.6 points per game, with 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 and assists. He’s been having a better year than last, and yet, the shooting has been down.

It’s not anymore. Gordon is feeling it. The Rockets are winners of 17 straight. They are 51-13 and still have the best record in the NBA. They just beat the Thunder and the Bucks on a road back-to-back after beating the Celtics in primetime on Saturday night. They have separated themselves as the class of the NBA.

And they just got Eric Gordon, three-point marksman back. There’s no telling how many games in a row they can win now that he’s finally hot.