DeAndre Jordan Wants to be Traded to Houston

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan

Apparently, DJ wants to be reunited with Chris Paul

One thing is certain for now: DeAndre Jordan won’t be finishing his career with the Los Angeles Clippers. In fact, he might be even playing for another team after the trade deadline. 
Why? His name has been included in a great number of trade rumor over the course of the last few months and given the fact that the Clippers aren’t winning the number of games they should  be winning even after the departure of Chris Paul, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Clippers are growing frustrated and among those who are clearly frustrated is none other  than DeAndre Jordan himself.
And now, the man of the hour has already stated what he wanted to happen- that if you will understand Stephen A. Smith of ESPN. 
Apparently, DeAndre Jordan would welcome any trade that would send him to the Houston Rockets that would reunite him with Chris Paul- someone who provided a big amount of success to the Clippers during their stint together which were highlighted by multiple playoff appearances and non-stop alley-oop plays that ignited the crowd whether they were playing at Staples Center or on the road.

Who should the Rockets send in exchange for DeAndre Jordan?

To begin with, DeAndre Jordan could make the Rockets a lot better especially on the defensive end of the game as he is the 2nd-best rebounder in the league right now, averaging 14 rebounds per game while his ability to penetrate the shaded area should benefit the Rockets as he’s shooting 66.1% from the field- the second-best in the league just behind the Rockets’ Clint Capela.
Ideally, a one-on-one swap would be the best way to handle this one. However, ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine has said that a straight swap between DeAndre Jordan and Clint Capela wouldn’t work because of the luxury tax and cap space issues. And so would Eric Gordon. 
So who’s the best guy the Rockets could offer?

Ryan Anderson 

A DeAndre Jordan-Ryan Anderson swap would benefit the Rockets because according to the Trade Machine, the Rockets would have added 5 wins to their projected number of wins by the end of the current season. On the other hand, a guy like Ryan Anderson could provide a stretched player who could play both 3 and 4 spots and can shoot threes. 

Conclusion

Remember those alley-oop plays ran by Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan? Those are amazing to watch, right? We might be able to see them again. The only question is: will the teams pull the trigger on this deal? 

Potential: Houston We have a King Next Season!

Houston Rockets aim to sign LeBron James & re-sign Chris Paul, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
Houston is a nice landing spot for the King but do they have enough cap space and selling point to lure the most in-demand player of the upcoming free agency.
James Harden and Chris Paul may be enough reason to consider joining the Rockets as the already great team could form the super teams of all super teams. James Harden alone is able to carry the Rockets to the playoffs and the top of the standing, what more if LeBron James would be part of the roster?
There a few potential landing spot for LeBron James next season such as the Lakers, Sixers and Houston Rockets who have been trying to make a bold move since last season when they attempted to lure in Carmelo Anthony to the city.

Rockets are interested

It’s public that they are interested in getting LeBron James and in order to do that they would have to let go of a number of players to give the King his well-deserved salary and it looks like they may have just that come next season.
We won’t be surprised if he chose the Rockets but we would expect him to stay put in Cleveland because everything else that other teams are offering is with his current team, besides, there’s no guarantee that joining two or three great players could form a championship team. 

The Peak Spot War: Hardenless Rockets vs. Raging Warriors

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry

After a very sorrowful week for the Houston Rockets, they’ll now face the team they’ve been rooting to overthrow right from the start, the team which also happened to kick them out of the no. 1 spot in the West. Will they be able to do it without Harden’s beard?
Warriors are looking for a way to completely achieve dominance. For that to happen, they must defeat the Houston Rockets and take advantage of this short-handed squad.

The good and bad side of Harden’s absence

James Harden being missing in action may both have beneficial and harmful effects on the upcoming game.
Harden would not be able to play against Steph Curry. This could’ve been a great matchup, or a face-off perhaps. It could’ve been a fierce battle between two MVP potential guards.
He’s also Rockets main outside gunner and an all-around offensive trigger. Without him, the pace would be affected significantly.

So what’s the good thing about Harden’s absence?

The Rockets still has Chris Paul on the roster which also helped hugely to defeat Lakers in a breathtaking 2-overtime brawl.
Besides, James Harden wasn’t doing well in the past games. His extreme scoring led to the teamplay stagnancy which led the Rockets 5 straight losses, 2 of which he scored over 50 points.
Maybe Rockets would improve and step right back up on its feet without the beard. They’ll find team rhythm once again and unleash winning streaks this time.

Warriors would look to dominate through outside shooting

As obvious as it may appear, of course, Warriors would even take more advantage of the splash brothers especially now that Rockets are short handed to outside gunners. They’ll root for Curry and Klay to connect swiftly from the outside while KD and Green would take care of the paint.
In fact, Draymond can also drill the hoop from beyond the arc especially during the Dallas game. Outside shooting became very vital and every miss were fatal. The game was as close as it could get until Steph dropped the three-point bomb to break away from the 122 deadlock. Green’s jolting threes were of big help and may be as dangerous as the Splash Brothers because of its unpredictability.

Rockets on Paul’s shoulders

With the beard gone, Paul’s going to suffice Harden’s productivity at the highest level he could reach. Capela and Harden didn’t work out too well recently. It’s time for him to try and find a way to awaken their sleeping beast inside.

Conclusion

If the Rockets would fall on the hands of the Warriors, their race to the top spot is over and Warriors would tighten its grip with the San Antonio Spurs left to take down.

The Beard is Out for Two Weeks

Question: Can Chris Paul and company keep it together during that span of time?

The Houston Rockets have been playing efficiently good during the first three months of the regular season. And ever since Chris Paul made his season debut with the Rockets, Houston was almost unstoppable. Almost. They endured a 5-game losing streak to end 2017 before finally winning a close one against the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, their win against the Lakers came with a hefty price. Their star, James Harden was hurt in the fourth quarter while driving towards the basket. The diagnosis: Harden sustained a Grade 2 Hamstring Strain which will put him out for two weeks. Harden will be the third Houston star who got injured this season. Chris Paul just recently returned from a strained left adductor while Clint Capela also missed tons of games due to a bruised right heel plus a right orbital fracture.

How will Harden’s absence affect the Rockets?

Against the Lakers on the final playing day of 2017, James Harden had 40 points and 11 assists before going down with the injury. He played for 41 minutes. If not to Chris Paul, the Rockets would have ended 2017 with a 6-game losing streak. With the Beard out for two weeks, the Rockets will have to find a way to keep on clicking offense amongst themselves without heavily relying on Chris Paul who himself is also known to be prone to get injured.
With James Harden who is averaging 32 points and 9 assists this season, the Rockets have been so effective in terms of scoring on offense as they are averaging a league’s best 115 points per game. So James Harden’s absence will definitely be a big blow for the Rockets but it will a blessing in disguise for the team because it will probably put Eric Gordon back into the starting line-up like he used to do before Chris Paul came aboard. In fact, Eric Gordon is currently the second-leading scorer of Houston this season, averaging 19 points per game while starting in 16 of the season’s first 33 games. 

Conclusion

Fortunately for the Rockets, they have 5 other guys who are averaging in double figures this season. While there’s no denying the fact that James Harden’s numbers will be sorely missed, they have one of the league’s best point guards in Chris Paul. It’s only a question of whether or not the Rockets will be able to win with Chris Paul leading them instead of James Harden. 

Balls-Eye: Rockets Out of the Pit after Beating Lakers?

Chris Paul Looking to Attack

Winning over the Los Angeles Lakers, the struggling Houston Rockets somehow found relief and comfort after losing 5 in a row and falling off the top spot.

But would it be enough reason to celebrate?

Yes, the Rockets have won the game technically but when talking about their drive to achieve redemption, this victory obviously did not satisfy their goal after their tragic 5 straight losses. The game was a near defeat, talking about a double-overtime game which we do not see every day.
If anyone would want redemption, of course, there is a need to seek and achieve full dominance. Meaning, even before the game ended, the winner’ an already decided. And it is obviously the other way around of what happened in Rockets-Lakers game. The game turned out to be so unpredictable that it took two extensions to decide who’ll take the game.
1. In fact, it can only be considered as a revenge over Lakers. Rockets also lost to Lakers on their last 5 downfalls.
2. Despite the victory, it was unfortunate for the Rockets to have James Harden injured. Luckily they still won for if not, Rockets would fall even deeper into despair.
3. Rockets lack main men production. It can be foreseen by simply looking at one player’s numbers. For example, James Harden. We already knew that the Rockets lost with James Harden scoring 51 points twice. Let us now go to their game against Lakers. Harden scored 40 points. A huge contribution from a single man. But still, the game extended up to two overtimes. If there is enough main line up production, an overtime would have not been necessary. Same as them losing 5 in a row.

Conclusion

James Harden may shoot worst in terms of percentage. He’s not a machine with absolute calibration yet he still scores big all the time for the Rockets regardless of being the winner or the loser. It is up to the other 4 starters to make the difference for the Rockets.
This victory is no time to celebrate. In fact, it may make the Rockets worry even more for they have an injured Harden and it was a game that almost went out of hand.

Sleeping Monster: Rockets’ Center Capela Ineffective Lately

James Harden and Clint Capela

Clint Capela’s absence once brought a problem to the Houston Rockets. But his presence wasn’t the solution though.

Without Capela, Rockets totally lost control of their rebounds in their games that resulted in a loss. Not having their main center made their team weak and scrawny. What’s even worst is that it was coupled with Harden’s worst shooting nights. The past few games turned out to be an absolute apocalypse of Rocket’s grip on the top spot.

Warriors have gained the crown in the west and they lost 5 straight. Nothing could ever get even worst than what Houston has been in.

Luckily, they have won their recent match against Lakers in a nail-biting double overtime ball game. But one thing’s still the problem.

Is Clint Capela Sleeping?

It may not have extended two times if Rockets were able to control the shaded area. Lakers got the advantage on rebounds 69 – 58 and completely dominated production underneath the rim.

Lakers scored a massive 82 points from the paint while Rockets only have a puny 58 point production. What’s even shocking is that Capela only scored 7 points with his long 32 minutes of play. He also barely touched the ball, making only 3 of the 8 attempts.

We thought that his absence made Rockets an underdog in terms of interior basketball, but if that’s so, why did his presence didn’t make any significant difference but still they end up losing so badly inside the shaded area?

Is Capela ineffective or his Rockets are running the game plan without him?

It may be both. Capela’s presence really is ineffective not just with the points but with rebounds. On the other hand, Rockets also do not involve him much in the offense. Most of Rockets’ points are coming from Chris Paul and James Harden.

Conclusion

He failed to play in some of their games so it might be a good idea to push him to make up for his absence. Make him touch the leather frequently and move Rockets’ offense from the small gunners to the huge inside monster.

Malfunctioning Rockets: Why is the Former No. 1 Team on their 5th Straight Loss?

James Harden

Already out of gas? Houston Rockets, the used to be threatening team on the early phase of the season is now down in the pit with 5 straight losses. Is it already over for the Houston Rockets?
If things get even worse, they might not last long in the playoffs or worst, they might not even make it.
It seldom happens for a team like this, especially when with James Harden. Now, we are all interested of the possible reasons that started this catastrophe onto them.

1. Harden’s Worst Shooting

James Harden never fails to score high but is frequently unsuccessful of minimizing missed shots especially when Capela was unable to play and no one was there to give a higher probability of getting the rebounds.

2. Everyone but Harden Slacked Off

Staying at the top for a relatively long period of time, the team felt a little bit more comfortable and slacked off except for Harden of course which scored 51 points twice in their 5 straight losses.

3. No Rockets Under the Rim?

They never got an edge on rebounding.
A ton of missed shots from key players plus uncontrolled rebounding equals a terrible defeat which was exactly what happened with the Rockets.

4. Crucial Incorrect Officiating Against Celtics

One call could not have spelled a game but not when a call is not made in a ‘winning’ shot? Marcus Smart traveled before hitting the shot that cost the game for Rockets. Not missing the call still may not guarantee Rockets’ victory yet the ball would be on their side and the odds are in their favor.

Conclusion

The simultaneous weak rebounding and worst shooting is the main problem. Either one of the two shall be fixed so that the Rockets may have the chance to get out from the deep pit. 

Slowly but Surely: The Thunder are Starting to Gain Ground

They are on a 6-game winning streak after beating the Toronto Raptors.

They started on the wrong foot, terribly. They stumbled near the bottom of the Western Conference and even lost to some of the worst teams in the NBA. Many fans were beginning to question the ability of Russell Westbrook to play with his two superstar teammates. Then, the “trade Paul George” rumors came out of nowhere. It seems back then that everything was beginning to fall apart for the Oklahoma City Thunder despite having Carmelo Anthony and Paul George on board.
Then, things began to brighten for the Thunder. They first defeated the formerly league-leading Houston Rockets and continued on their winning streak after beating one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors.

Question: Is this a sign that the Thunder are becoming the team everyone was talking about when their Big 3 was first assembled?

That’s still up for a debate but if anything, the Thunder have finally figured out how to play with each other. Russell Westbrook has been playing like his MVP self during their winning streak. They may be sitting in 21st place in the league in terms of points per game but defensively, they are the third-best team in terms of limiting their opponents’ production, forcing opponents to only 100 points per game. They are the best teams in steals per game, averaging 10 snatches per night. Additionally, they are forcing 16 turnovers per game- also a league’s best. 

Conclusion

While the Thunder were able to beat an elite team in the Rockets, both teams are still due for two more games this season and mind you, folks, Chris Paul wasn’t in uniform when his team lost. Clint Capela just sustained an orbital fracture which is said to be putting him out of basketball action for two games.
Will the Thunder continue their streak? That’s up to them. After all, they should be challenging the Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the West. But given the fact that they have already made the climb up to 5th place owing to their 20-15 record, they are only 8 games behind the Warriors. They only need to maintain their consistency and who knows, we might actually see them challenging the Rockets and the Warriors like they were made to do in the first place. 

Celtics back on its Feet for Rockets, Beats Hornets 102 -91

Al Horford

Aside from winning another game, Celtics’ win over Hornets is a huge stepping stone before facing the Houston Rockets in a 3 in a row losing streak.

If consecutive losses will be the Rocket’s drive to take on Celtics, it is the other way around for the green guys. They must step in front of Rockets as strong-looking as they could.
Irving scored 21 points to hold off Hornets but only hit 8 of his 19 shots. It is actually Al Horford who carried Celtics to victory with his efficient 20 points, 11 rebounds double-double performance, hitting 8 of 11 shots from the field including 4 out of 6 from beyond the arc.
On the other hand, Kemba Walker outshone Kyrie in the point guard matchup with 24 points but was seemingly alone during the game in terms of hustle.
Celtics beat the Hornets in three-point shooting, hitting 15 treys while letting Hornets only 7.
It was a good thing that the shaded area wasn’t dominated by Hornets but still, Celtics’ center Aron Baynes is missing in action. Baynes was thwarted by Dwight Howard with 17 rebounds, leaving him only with 9.
Celtics sizzled early to take over the 1st bout. Horford awakened the scoreboard with a trey followed by Baynes’ bank shot both made possible by an assisting Kyrie Irving. The green guys opened a 12 point lead at the end of the opening quarter, 28 – 16.
2nd quarter commenced and the Hornets are trying to sprout mini runs to somehow close the gap but was erased by Celtics effective three-point shooting.
Kemba Walker rained down threes in the 3rd and the Hornets came back within one point to enter the final 12 minutes but it was the trio of Jayson Tatum, Horford and Irving to cease their comeback.
Going back to the upcoming Celtics Rockets game. Will Horford be able to suffice the needed inside control which Baynes lacks? Or would the mighty Clint Capela and James Harden finally recover from their losing streak?

Crucial Powerhouse Encounter: Who Will Remain Standing in Rockets Celtics Clash?

Harden vs Irving

Houston Rockets slide down to number 2 spot after three consecutive awful defeats. On the other hand, the Celtics is trying to keep a hold on East’s top spot. What could be even better if these two teams face each other? And much more importantly, who would be victorious after 48 minutes of action?
Okay, folks let us start with the Houston Rockets.
James Harden scored 51 points twice and lost both games. Facing the thunder, he was outshone by Russell Westbrook. He scored relatively high but misses a lot of shots. James Harden is in his worst shooting form.
Rockets losing in the 1st two games were without Clint Capela. It was thought to be the reason until he came back, and lose against OKC.

How about Celtics?

They aren’t on a losing streak currently but still, one thing is their problem. The unproductive Aron Baynes. Kyrie Irving, being the top scorer for Boston against the Washington Wizards didn’t shoot well. With these scenarios, a strong center is needed, which Celtics does not have.
The solution would be its either Irving must shoot efficiently or Baynes’ effective rebounding.

Who would win the game?

Weighing in all the facts, Rockets have a bigger problem than Celtics. We can notice that if Irving is playing well, most of the time Celtics win. On the other hand, Harden playing extremely well isn’t enough to take the Rockets pass the opponent.
Expect a head to head isolation plays between Harden and Irving.
On the other hand, in terms of the shaded area, Rockets has the advantage with Clint Capela.
If Irving won’t deliver from the outside well, Rockets would win.
If, Harden would hold the ball most of the time, Celtics would win due to lack of team play.

Harden in Vain:Why 51 Point Performance Ends with a Defeat Twice in a Row?

James Harden

It is undeniably sorrowful to lose when you scored exceptionally high in a ball game. But it is very unfortunate when we talk about 51 points by a single man, not just once but twice in a row.
James Harden has done it again and lost once again. One against the Lakers and another against Clippers. What could’ve been the reason for this?
Well, it is not as shocking when talking about history. Why? Wilt Chamberlain, the man who scored a hundred points also experienced this not just twice but thrice in a row with 50 points above. So technically it isn’t as new as it seemed to both of us. Anyway, it is just an additional fact for each and everyone of you out there who loves basketball so let us now go back to our subject matter.

1. Selfish Basketball is Fatal against Team Play

With one man scoring a humongous amount of points. It is perhaps obvious that he who scored such numbers had the ball with him almost all the time.

1.1 How it Affects the Player Himself

Well as for Harden, he’ll be the main target for the opponent’s defense, as a result he’ll tend to miss a lot of shots despite scoring high. In short, inefficiency. Taking a lot of shots equals making a lot of shots, but behind that is also missing a lot of shots.

1.2 How it Affects Team Play

Team play basically is slowly diluted. With one man, especially if it is a point guard getting the offense on the go, then some guys or the other four on the floor are no longer functional. The point guard is responsible for handling the ball and thus executing a play. In typical games, it is the point guard who handles the ball much of the time. What more in a self-played point guard. Imagine how many minutes the ball had been in the same palm.
The whole team would be stagnant and unproductive with one man scoring too much.

Conclusion

Harden stepped up his game too much. There is a need for filling up Capela’s absence but Harden seems to forgot Clint Capela (Rocket’s center) isn’t the only one who needs his feeding of the ball. 

Streaking No More! Lakers Snap Rockets’ 14-Game Winning Streak

Kyle Kuzma erupts for 38 while Chris Paul gets hurt

Ever since Chris Paul made his season debut with the Houston Rockets upon fully-recovering from his injury, things have been going well for the Rockets as they didn’t lose a game in all of the games that CP3 played with the team. They went down a couple of times but either CP3 or James Harden would save the Rockets from an imminent defeat to come up victorious.
However, everything has a limitation.
As painful as it may sound especially for the fans of James Harden and company, their team’s 14-game winning streak is no more as they were defeated by none other than the Los Angeles Lakers, 122-116.
While the Rockets were able to keep it close during the latter parts of the 4th quarter despite Chris Paul leaving with 10 minutes left in the game due to a sore leg, it only proved one thing: despite James Hardens 51 points, the Rockets aren’t a complete team just yet without Chris Paul in the line-up.
So what doomed the Rockets and their winning streak?

Kyle’s Kuz-mazing 38 Points

Kyle Kuzma has been outplaying his more popular rookie teammate, Lonzo Ball and his performance against Houston is no different at all. Kuzma started the game blazing hot, making the first 6 of his 3-pointers before cooling down a bit. By the end of the game, Kuzma has already surpassed his previous career high to come up with 38 points on a 12 for 17 shooting include 7 for 10 from deep. He also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists while playing for 40 minutes.

15 Turnovers for Houston

James Harden had 6 of those turnovers. The turnover problem could be associated with Chris Paul’s absence especially in the 4th quarter as Harden had to take over the ball-handling responsibilities- something that CP3 has done marvelously. However, we all have to keep in mind that the Lakers are among the top 10 teams in the league when it comes to forcing their opponents to commit those turnovers. 

Chris Paul’s Struggles and Departure Hurt the Rockets

Before he was taken out of the game for good, Chris Paul has been visibly struggling on the court. He only had 8 points on a horrible 2 for 7 field goal shooting. He also had 3 turnovers and only played for 28 minutes. Although James Harden had 9 assists to go along with his 51 points, there’s no other point guard who can create scoring opportunities better than Chris Paul himself.

Conclusion

While Houston’s latest setback doesn’t change the fact that they are still the best team in the NBA as we speak, they better pray that Chris Paul will be ready to play come the Rockets’ next game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Why? James Harden cannot do everything on his own. 

Ball Scrutiny: 3 Awful Facts Behind Rockets’ Loss against Lakers

James Harden in a state of shock

James Harden scored undeniably humongous. 51 points is too distant from usual. What’s even more unusual is that it was insufficient to earn Rockets another victory.
It is just one of the many awful facts behind this shocking loss. In fact, it is quite obvious. Now, let us take a look at its implications behind the curtains.

1. Within Warriors’ striking distance

One more downfall and the Warriors might take them out of their sweet top spot. Same with Celtics’ situation, the Rockets want absolute dominance on the west to retain their threatening form until as long as they could.
Every single defeat of the Rockets let the Warriors come closer and closer.

2. No Capela, fatal for Rockets

Without a huge shadow on the shaded area, Lakers took advantage of the great hole’s vulnerability. Clint Capela being the sole center of Rockets and not being able to play let Rockets’ defense weaken significantly. Lakers dished out 27 assists while Rockets with only 19. Rockets may have won if the battle is a shootout alone but it’s their incomplete defense that pulled them down into the pit.

3. The Trade-off between 51 points and turnovers

James Harden shot well but there can never be some gain without any pain. So what cost the 51 points? Turnovers. Once somebody holds the ball too much, they may tend to score high and turn the ball over many times. Rockets had 15 turnovers and 6 of them coming from Harden alone.
But still, Rockets only let Lakers score 17 off turnovers in contrast to them with 25 turnover points. But what hurt them? Basket in transition. 20 fastbreak points versus 6 for the rockets. They may not have the center Clint Capela which means a smaller and faster lineup yet a fast squad won’t be enough to cover a huge open hole in transition defense. 

Balls-Eye: Harden Scores 28 Points on his ‘Worst’ Shooting Night

James Harden
28 points do not seem that anything went wrong but believe it or not, James Harden produced such a huge one while at the worst accuracy of his shooting against a powerhouse team like San Antonio Spurs.
Half of Harden’s points came from the free-throw line. Knowing that he’s not shooting well especially from his specialty — beyond the arc, he bolstered his aggressiveness to draw out fouls and earn his points easier from the line.
It may have been the worst night for Harden yet he showed flexibility and smart play by knowing what to do in order to provide the needs of the team in a different way in times that his comfort zone seems not really like his comfort zone.
Thanks to Chris Paul who also scored 28 points ‘efficiently’ for the help provided to the struggling Harden and also to a Clint Capela double-double of q8 points 10 rebounds.

Conclusion

With James Harden able to play at his best with the worst shooting, stopping his 3 point shooting is slashed out on the options to shut him down. The only way to shut him down is him being totally out of the game.
The Rockets are getting stronger and stronger. Someone would step up to fill in somebody’s gap. Rockets isn’t only about Harden clearly, there’s Chris Paul, Clint Capela and sooner or later everyone on the squad would be as good as any team’s key players. Who knows? They can be in line with super team’s maybe not with names but with skills and talents. 
With a solid performance like this. The number one spot for the Rockets is and will be tightly sealed.

By the Numbers: 3 Reasons why the Rockets Kept their Streak

The Houston Rockets are now on a 12-game winning streak

During the last few seasons, the Houston Rockets were one of the inconsistent teams in the league. They had Dwight Howard to team up with James Harden which didn’t produce a championship. Last season,  the Rockets bowed down to the San Antonio Spurs in 6 games of the West’s semifinals. While many people were questioning James Harden’s lack of capability to lead his team, we all know if given the right teammates, James Harden can make the fans of Houston proud.
And that’s exactly what is happening right now. Alongside his new backcourt partner, Chris Paul, James Harden is now leading the Houston Rockets to brand new heights as they are riding on their 12-game winning streak after a big victory over fellow Texas team, the San Antonio Spurs, 124-109. That win improved the NBA’s best record to 23-4.
So what enabled the Rockets to win their 12th straight game? Below are the numbers:

The Chris Paul Effect Continues

Like it or not, Chris Paul’s capability to play the point guard position like a god is doing the wonders for James Harden and company. The beauty of it, the Rockets are perfect this season when Chris Paul is playing- averaging 17 points per game. Against the Spurs, CP3 scored 28 points, 8 assists and 7 STEALS. Now that’s a point guard, folks.

Balanced Offense from Starters

The Spurs’ starting unit was outplayed all throughout the game. The Rockets’ starting 5 combined for 97 of the Rockets’ 124 points. Aside from the 28 points each of James Harden and Chris Paul respectively, Clint Capela contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds while Ryan Anderson and Trevor scored 12 and 11 respectively.
On the other side, only LaMarcus Aldridge (16 points) and Kawhi Leonard (12 points) were the lone starters of the Spurs who scored in double figures. 

Blasting Start

One of the reasons why the Rockets were able to run away to another victory was the fact that they started the game by scoring 31 big points in the first quarter alone while limiting the Spurs to 16 points.

Conclusion

Will the Rockets continue their streak? As of posting time, they are up against the Milwaukee Bucks. Can they extend their streak to 13? That’s up to their backcourt duo. 

Balls-Eye: 3 Ways for Bucks to Beat Rockets

Milwaukee Bucks is a strong offensive team with their core Giannis Antetokounmpo. But is their power enough to make Rockets collapse?

Clint Capela and James Harden talking

Beating the Rockets on their current condition right now is far from easy and more than just difficult. But it isn’t impossible any team just have to slow down, if not completely stopping the Rockets so here are some prospective ways on how to make Rockets have a taste of defeat in the hands of the Bucks.

1 – Giannis as he usually does

It is quite normal for the Greek Freak to score at least 30 points a game, but it would not be very easy against a no ordinary team but if he keeps his high scoring, it is clearly a great sign that Rockets’ defense fails to get him under control and what’s left to do for Bucks is to outperform them in scoring.

2 – Limit Harden’s Threes

It isn’t just Steph Curry who’s got the gunpowder to shoot from way outside. James Harden also exists. Remember that 90 point halftime score? Rockets especially James Harden is a monster and he let it rain down threes. If Bucks would be able to handle Harden, then the Rockets’ offensive production would somehow decrease.

3 – Box Out Capela

If it isn’t Harden, it would be Clint Capela, their core center which provides an extra boost for the team. But let it be known that Bucks have Giannis which have not only skills but can also win a battle of strength and power. He has a chance to handle and win over Capela on the inside battle.


Nevertheless, still, anyone’s victory isn’t guaranteed especially for the Bucks. Giannis has been scoring the way he does regardless of games won and lost. It would be his teammates who’d make the difference. A huge difference. Who knows, maybe they’ll finally step up once they faced the number one team in the west. 

Balls-Eye: Spurs’ Last Shot for Redemption

Manu Ginobili

We all know how bad the San Antonio Spurs suffered against the Warriors in the western conference finals when Kawhi Leonard got injured and their spot in the finals blurred out.
This season, all they want is redemption, revenge against the squad which crushed them and left Kawhi as a casualty. Yet, they failed with another loss 112 – 92. Since then, they never got another match and they are still hungry for vengeance.
But now, here comes a team who managed to destroy their rival. The Houston Rockets which are reigning currently in the league led by their guard James Harden.
It will be a significant victory for Spurs if they can overthrow the number one team in the western conference. Though not directly defeating the Warriors, still they can somehow feel redemption after beating a team that’s relatively stronger than the Warriors ‘currently’.
It would be a great step for the Spurs to have a boosted morale once again.

Can they beat the Rockets?

Well if there will be an appropriate team to compare with the Houston Rockets, it will be the Boston Celtics just waving at them at the peak of another mountain in the east. Now why did I mention this? It is because Spurs lost against Boston but managed to beat them on the 2nd time.

On the 2nd time.

But the problem is they’ll face the Rockets this season for the 1st time. Can they? For redemption? For revival, for a huge step on the goal. This is the story. Questions that’ll be answered by the Spurs and Rockets clash.

By the Numbers: Houston Take Down Hornets for 11th Straight Win

The Rockets are now 12-0 with Chris Paul in the line-up

While the rest of the NBA are hyped about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recently rediscovered dominance that was also recently ended by the Indiana Pacers, one team from the Western Conference is also on a streak of their own as they have just nabbed their 11th win in 11 games. 
That team is none other than the West-leading Houston Rockets. 
This is after the Rockets- at one point only leading by a point, went on to score game’s next 25 points- a scoring run that went between the end of the 1st quarter and the early goings of the second, en route to another dominant win over the Charlotte Hornets, 108-96. 
So what enabled the Rockets to keep their winning streak alive? Below are the numbers:

The Chris Paul Effect

As mentioned above, the Rockets have yet to lose a game this season when Chris Paul is in the lineup and IS PLAYING. And he made sure that his presence was felt all throughout. Against the Hornets, CP3 played one of his best games this season, leading the Rockets with his 31 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists. Having a guy like  Chris Paul helped the Rockets in a game that saw James Harden only scoring 21 points on 8 for 22 field goal shooting. 

Defense in Threes

Sure, the Rockets were shooting 37% from beyond the three-point line but they also forced Charlotte to only make 19% of their attempts from downtown. That’s a big difference, folks. The Rockets also limited the Hornets’ three-point attempts to 21- where Charlotte only made 4. On the other hand, Houston attempted 45 tries from deep, making 17 of them. Now, who said Houston cannot defend?

Conclusion

This win enabled the Rockets to win their season series against the Hornets at 2-0. Their next game? Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs. Are going to in? Yes. 
Why?
Chirs Paul is why. 

The Houston Rockets are Blasting Off

And they don’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon

James Harden and Chris Paul

Anyone who says that James Harden and Chris Paul cannot play together should probably keep their mouth shut because if they haven’t noticed just yet, the dynamic duo of Harden and CP3 is one of the reasons why the Houston Rockets are the best team in the NBA right now with a 21-4 record. Yes, they are better than the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors and even defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this season.
Ever since Chris Paul made his season debut after fully recovering from his injury, things have been well for the Rockets as they have yet to lose a game with Chris Paul in the line-up. And heading into their next game against the Charlotte Hornets, the Rockets are riding on a 10-game winning streak.

Question: Just how good are the Rockets?

For starters, James Harden has been playing another MVP-worthy season as he’s currently the league’s leading scorer- averaging 32 points per game while also averaging 9.5 assists per game- the second-best behind Russell Westbrook. Clint Capela, who exploded for a good number of dunks off dishes from James Harden in their last game against the New Orleans Pelicans- is the league’s best shooter right now, making 67% of his field goal attempts and also among the top 5 in blocks per game.
As a team, the Rockets’ 115 points per game ranks second behind the Warriors’ 117. They’re also the number 3 team in terms of steals per game, averaging 9 steals per night.
But more than anything else, it’s Chris Paul’s mere presence on the floor that has been doing the wonders for Houston. In the 11 games that he played so far- all wins, CP3 has averaged 14 points and 9 assists per game. He has provided James Harden the stability at the point guard position as CP3 is only averaging 1.9 turnovers per game- the lowest in his career.

Conclusion

If anything, the Rockets are having one of the best seasons in franchise history. At the pace that they are playing right now with a backcourt duo of James Harden and Chris Paul leading them, this pundit on wheels doesn’t think any team can catch up with the duo. Not even the Warriors. 

LeBron James to Houston: A Real Chance?

Executives believe Houston has a real chance in landing LeBron 

Lebron James and James Harden

Ever since the possibility of LeBron James leaving his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers next season, for the second time around, has popped up, the scenarios as to where LeBron James would be playing next have been flooding the NBA. 
Initially, the most probable destination for the King would be the Los Angeles Lakers to team up with Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Then, the Philadelphia 76ers have indicated that they would be making a push to sign LeBron James at the end of the current season. 
Now? Another team from the Western Conference has appeared to be another candidate to win LeBron’s services- that if you will believe the league executives. That team is none other than the Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets are enjoying a big amount of success as evident by their 20-4 record- the best in the West. They are on a 9-game winning streak and Chris Paul has been playing like a “point god” alongside James Harden ever since CP3 returned to action after sitting out tons of games due to injury. James Harden has become the league’s leading scorer as he is averaging 32 points per game. The Beard is also averaging 9 assists per game- the second best in the NBA next to Russell Westbrook. As a team, the Rockets are the second-best scoring team, averaging 114 points per game. So, you could just imagine how powerful the Rockets would become if  LeBron James goes to Texas next season.
LeBron James is having another MVP-worthy season, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers in 4 of the 5 departments. However, despite their recently ended 13-game winning streak, the Cavs are still in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with a 19-8 record. And, injuries are piling up anew, forcing LeBron James to play extended minutes. If the Cavs struggle anew this season like they did during the season’s early weeks, then it will only cement LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland, again.

Conclusion

Realistically, the Rockets are the best team to land LeBron James next season assuming that LeBron leaves the East. Why? Chris Paul is one of the King’s friends and the King has always said that he wanted to play alongside CP3. And talent-wise the Rockets are definitely the team LeBron should consider to play for especially if he wanted to improve his 3-5 Finals record. After all, if this move happens, the Rockets will have one of the best super teams that have been assembled in recent memory, right? 

Balls-Eye: Will Celtics and Rockets Stick on Top for the Rest of the Regular Season?

James Harden

With an outstanding performance by the Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics on both ends of their respective conferences? Will their spot at number 1 be guaranteed until they enter the playoffs?

Okay, both squads had a shockingly improved performance. Here are two electrifying things which personally dropped my jaw. The Rockets managed to score 90 points with only 24 minutes. Outscoring Warriors’ full game score in some of their matches while Boston Celtics unleashed a 16 – 0 run. Quite big right?
Let us talk about the Houston Rockets first. They managed to beat their rival Warriors and the tightest rival of their rival, the Cleveland Cavaliers. This was the biggest of wins. Crushing two of the considered to be best teams the league has ever had.
James Harden is consistent in all of their games even in their losses. He is the main source of Rockets’ offensive power. Impeccable in playmaking as well as finishing. Harden will lead Rockets on their road to glory and will carry them, bonded together on top ’til the end of the regular season.

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On the other hand, the Boston Celtics loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which happens to be the must beat team in the east for the team to be recognized as the best one. Nevertheless, a 16 win streak is far from ordinary. But guaranteeing them to finish at the top spot isn’t for certain. The Cavs are running a late sizzle and they are now trailing behind Boston Celtics in a blink of an eye. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Who are the Most Disappointing Teams in the West Right Now?

After promising starts, big roster moves during the offseason, these teams are still faltering

The Thunder, despite having a talented Big 3, are failing to live up to expectations.
There’s no doubt in everyone’s minds that the Western Conference is still for the Golden State Warriors to dominate, no matter what the other teams in the West do with their respective teams. They can try to challenge the Warriors of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson but not every West team have enough firepower to even match the offensive outburst of the Warriors. But despite that, all teams in the West have made notable moves whether it’s signing of new guys, to the hiring of new coaches and yes, some have assembled their own Big 3.
Now that the season is 5 weeks-old, the Warriors are back on top of the standings after struggling during the early goings of the season and yes, they are tied with the Houston Rockets with an identical record at 13-4. Following them are the San Antonio Spurs who are still without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. 
But let’s not talk about how good the West is right now because not all teams in the West are doing great this season so far and this basketball pundit on wheels listed down below the three teams in the West who are failing miserably to live up to expectations:

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Oklahoma City Thunder: 7-9 (tied with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 9th spot)

There’s no disappointing team in the West than the Thunder themselves. Why?
They have Russell Westbrook- a triple-double machine who won last season’s MVP award. They also have Paul George and Carmelo Anthony- two players who were traded to Oklahoma City during the offseason- and two notable offensive players.  
The problem is, they haven’t found any kind of rhythm that will enable them to go on a notable winning streak.  So far, they already dropped against some of the West’s elite teams including the San Antonio Spurs and yes, they even lost to the Sacramento Kings- one of the West’s worst teams. 
With a game against Warriors coming their way, this basketball pundit on wheels really thinks that the Thunder will need to win that specific game to gain some sort of confidence because if not, there’s a chance that they might not even make the playoffs.

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Memphis Grizzlies: 7-9 (tied with the Thunder for the 9th/10th spot) 

Speaking of Marc Gasol and the rest of the Memphis Grizzlies, this is a team that used to be in top 3 in the West a few weeks ago and now, they are not even in the top 8 thanks to their 5-game losing streak which included two defeats from the hands of the Rockets. They’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games and with a game against the Dallas Mavericks coming up, the Grizzlies can use that game to return to their winning ways because they are fading right now.

Los Angeles Clippers: 5-11 (13th spot)

The Clippers have lost Chris Paul. They have lost JJ Reddick. They even lost Jamal Crawford. Sure, Blake Griffin is healthy. So is DeAndre Jordan. But that didn’t prevent the Clippers from losing all of their last 9 games. They lost to the New York Knicks, the Spurs and most notably, the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game that they could have won. In effect, the fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are laughing at the Clippers right now. Why? The Lakers are currently in the top 8 and the Clippers are not.

Ball Scrutiny: 3 Reasons Behind Rockets’ Downfall Against Raptors

James Harden’s 38 point, 11 assist double-double explosion ended up in vain after a 16 point loss against the Toronto Raptors earlier. 

James Harden and Jonas Valanciunas
Harden Flies High for a lay up against Valanciunas

Shocking right? A single man contributed near 40 points yet still ended up as the loser? What’s worse is that Rockets all of a sudden fell of their place on the top spot. What could be the reason for this shocking loss?

1 – Starter Imbalance

Well, at some point, one player exploding too much in scoring can also be a negative factor. Of course anyone could not score such a huge number without holding the ball much of the time. Individual and team rhythm would fail to establish if the leather isn’t moving around well. Harden scored 38 but a co-starter Ryan Anderson who played 31 minutes finished with only 9, imbalance is completely obvious.

2 – Wright, Miles played huge off the bench

Backing up the huge 27 point game by Demar Derozan, Raptors had two huge guns off the bench, CJ Miles and Delon Wright both with double figures. Miles dominated the rainbow country with 6 triples finishing with 19 big points whilst Wright with 14 points finished with a flawless 100% field goal shooting. In contrary, the Rockets bench only scored a combined 23 points which is very insignificant to match Raptors bench production of 50.

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3 – Too Much Hustle for the No. 1 Spot

Rockets are in the race to the top spot while Raptors ain’t in that much. This is the root of the Rockets collapse, Harden won’t hustle that much if it weren’t for the pressure. Harden held the ball too much and took almost a third of the total team attempts 25/79 but hit only 8. Thus it can be concluded that there is an excessive aggression on Harden’s part which resulted in a sorrowful defeat instead of carrying his team to victory.

What’s and How’s: Harden and the Rockets beat GSW and Cavs

WHAT does this mean and HOW do they do it?

James Harden
A little bit electrocuted after realizing that the Houston Rockets won their games against two of the most power-packed team in the current league. Know that you’re not the only one who is in the state of shock at the question ‘Just how strong is the Houston Rockets?’
But before that, let us answer today’s whats and hows in order to come up with a conclusion to the very intriguing question ‘Just how strong is the Houston Rockets?

What does this mean for the Houston Rockets?

Of course, it is a good sign of their impeccable gameplay execution. Their game is tighter. Team play is more effective than ever and they are filled with all sorts of positivity as they head on straight to whatever this season’s journey may slap onto them.

What does this mean for the Cavs and GSW?

It almost sounds like, “hey, you two dudes would not be the only reigning kings in the league forever”. 
Even Michael Jordan’s career slowly faded out. This loss is very alarming for both teams. Because aside from having a huge obstacle of taking down each other, here comes another perilous challenger – the Houston Rockets.
If it is a problem for the Cavs, it is a current disaster for the Warriors. They are on the same conference and if lucky, they’ll face each other at any stage of the playoffs. Regardless of when, one thing’s for sure, one has to defeat another to get to the finals. Pretty tough, huh?

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So, how do the Rockets manage to destroy this two enormous teams?

All is well as long as James Harden keeps on being an effective playmaker and an offensive power source for the team. Harden played a the top of his game as he faced this two monsters. He exploded with 27 points and 11 assists against the Warriors whilst unleashing the beast inside him during the Cavs game with a monster triple-double of 35 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.
Aside from having a very fluid playmaking led by Harden, the Rockets also have an iron interior established by their center Clint Capela. Capela is a monster on both ends of the court. He produces just enough points for the team and is a very effective interior defender. 
If you have watched the Rockets game against the Cavs, he blocked Kevin Love several times and even the king LeBron James from behind to dish out the winning stop in the final seconds of the game.
Now, I think you have a pretty much solid perspective on how strong the Houston Rockets is for their own team, for how the Cavs and Warriors see them and for how they changed the seemingly repetitive story of the league.

Threat Blast Off: Harden’s triple double push Rockets to Win #5

James Harden

With James Harden’s monstrous triple-double performance of 27 points 10 rebounds and 11 assists, the Houston Rockets slashed the Hornets off the court 109 – 93.

Both teams awakened the scoreboard with their own treys out of a well-played sequence. It was Marvin Williams who lit the first long ball out of a Jeremy Lamb assist, quickly answered by Ryan Anderson’s own three out of a James Harden assist.

Anderson drilled the rim 2 more times, with passes coming from the same man – Harden to keep on track with Hornets, down a single point 9-10.

First quarter ended in favor of the Hornets holding to a slim lead 30-27. But Hornets’ had the lead not for long, as the 2nd quarter commenced, the flow of the story suddenly changed. Anderson continued to deliver from the rainbow country and the Rockets offense increased fluidity which let them crack a huge gap 56-46 at the half.

The game’s quarters seemed to be alternating, it was the Hornets who chopped down the lead a bit at the end of the 3rd. Rockets 10 point lead were only at 4 points, 78-74.
The Rockets wanted to end the unpredictability of the games’ end In the 4th quarter, James Harden pumped up his game, going all-rounder as he secured defensive rebounds, dish out assists and hit shots. Doors were shut at the face of the Hornets and Houston broke free when the defense start to loosen up.

The starters of Rockets tied up the entire production of the whole Hornets team at 93 points which spelled the difference for both of them.

Scores

Rockets 109 – Harden 27, Gordon 26, Anderson 21, Mbah-a-Moute 12, Capela 7 bench – 16
Hornets 93 – Walker 26, Lamb 20, Howard 19, Gilchrist 4, Williams 3, bench – 21