The Houston Rockets have a significant 1-2 punch with James Ennis and Gary Clark in the fold. Take a look at why this duo is currently on the rise.
Since Trevor Ariza signed with the Phoenix Suns and Luc Mbah a Moute signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, many had wondered how would the Houston Rockets will replace their three-point shooting and defensive versatility. Look no further, their replacements came in the form of James Ennis and Gary Clark.
During the off season, the Houston Rockets signed Carmelo Anthony and Ennis to replenish their depth on the wing. Clark, an undrafted free agent from the University of the Cincinnati, inked a two-way contract with the team. It’s highly unlikely that the Houston Rockets‘ brass knew that he’d make such an impact so quickly.
The Carmelo Anthony project did not work, even though it’s debatable on how much time the
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Houston Rockets vested into it and now Clark has gobbled Melo’s begotten minutes. This has allowed coach Mike D’Antoni to set his rotation and has enabled the players to master their craft. Ennis, as expected, is the starting small forward and Clark is the key forward off the bench.
The season stumbled off to a 1-5 start, but the team has netted a 9-2 record since then and only 2.5 games out of first place in the Western Conference. The team has established an immense amount of chemistry and Ennis has started to show his aggressiveness in transition and this has given Clark more confidence to open up and play his game.
Ennis has made his fair share of threes — knocking down 20-of-49 for 40.8 percent — and has provided the Houston Rockets the ability to deploy their switch-everything defense.
Clark has also contributed profusely on the trey-side — swishing 7-for-20 from behind-the-arc for 35 percent — and has also provided versatile defense and shot blocking.
Clark and Ennis have been key in the Rockets‘ turnaround and current five-game win streak. Their best showing came against the Golden State Warriors.
In one of the most-coveted matchups of the season thus far, Ennis repeatedly beat the defending-champ Golden State Warriors in transition. Clark led a key charge in the third with timely threes and two critical blocks in their eventual 107-86 rout.
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The notable contributions of these two have helped the Rockets looked like the team that won 65 games last year and fans should be happy. Not only has the franchise replaced two once-vital cogs effectively but soon this team will be fully healthy and as deep as last season’s squad.