The Houston Rockets season has finally come to a close. The post season is just around the corner and are sure to be exciting!
The Houston Rockets are set for the playoffs. After a regular season of playing the best basketball in the league, the time has come for the team to show it on the grandest stage.
Here are three things to watch.
Harden and Paul balling out
James Harden will most likely win the MVP award this season, and rightfully so. The Beard produced another brilliant season leading the league in scoring and leading the Rockets to the NBA’s best record.
Chris Paul arrived to Houston with many questions being asked. Would he adjust to Harden? How will they share ball-handling duties?
The 32 year-old proved those doubts foolish and immediately made a positive impact. Averaging 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists, the veteran has been a huge boost on both the offense and defense.
With these two guys in optimal condition, the expectations will be for them to keep up this level of play throughout the postseason. And with the hunger for rings after playoff disappointment in both of their pasts, expect them to be ready to play.
No sweeps in sight
The Western Conference is ridiculously loaded this season. To prove that point all there is to do is look at the eighth seed. The Houston Rockets will be playing the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team with two All-Stars.
In the potential second round series, the Rockets could face either the Utah Jazz or the Oklahoma City Thunder. Either team would be a challenge as the Thunder have three All-Star caliber players and the Spurs have maybe the greatest coach ever in Gregg Popovich.
Then of course, the expected match-up in the conference finals is a series vs. the defending champs. The Warriors would expect to have Stephen Curry back by that point, making the series a very close one to call.
The Rockets may be the favorites, but in no way does that mean it will come easy.
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In last season’s series vs. San Antonio, the Rockets allowed an average of 108.3 points per game. That included a couple of games where they allowed over 120 points. But we’ll have to monitor if this an opponent we face in the Western Conference finals.
Any resemblance of those stats this postseason will surely cause huge trouble for any team, even for one so offensively loaded as this one.
One of the great changes this season has been on the defensive end. P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, and Paul have led the way in terms of holding defense to the same standard as offense. It has resulted in a top ten defense and a sense of toughness added the team.
The postseason gets tougher, more physical, and more defensively focused. The Rockets will have to depend on their defense at some point these playoffs no question about it.
Regardless of how fast or slow the Houston Rockets come out of the gate, they’re sure to have an exciting, long run in the playoffs. The rate and frequency in which they dominated in the regular season don’t leave much left to answer. Here’s to a long run that will hopefully end in a championship!