Houston Rockets: Reinserting Eric Gordon into starters has led resurgence

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: Eric Gordon
PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 16: Eric Gordon /

The Houston Rockets have now won five in a row, reinserting themselves into the upper echelon. Eric Gordon has been a major part of that, let’s take a look.

The Houston Rockets started this season horribly. They dwelt below .500 for the vast majority of the season, up to this point. Different things have been holding them back but with Eric Gordon in the starting lineup, the Rockets now look like last years Rockets.

The Rockets have been trying to integrate new players all the while dealing with injuries to countless players. This initially led to a horrid start for the Rockets. One of the additions, Carmelo Anthony, flamed out in a terrible fashion, probably worse than anyone could’ve imagined.

The Rockets were not playing good defense and everyone just seemed a little off on offense. The team as a whole was off and it was so bad, coach Mike D’Antoni made a change to the starting line up, moving James Ennis to the bench for Gordon.

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This switch has been a revelation for the Houston Rockets. With the insertion of Gordon into the starting lineup, the Rockets now have a starting line up that includes players who all played huge roles last year.

Initially, the change to the line up helped the Rockets defensively. During this streak, the Rockets starting line up has been playing with more defensive effort and has started forcing turnovers. This change has been evident and it helps that Mike Bzdelik is now back at the helm of the defense.

James Harden still has a ways to go defensively but he is now using his hands and quickness on defense to his advantage. He’s, now, a pretty solid bet for a steal or two a game when he decides to exert extra effort on that end of the court.

When the Houston Rockets switched last year, they won their matchups because they moved their hands and created turnovers. During this winning streak, the Rockets have done this and have given effort similar to last years team. As a result, both Chris Paul and Harden are in the top 5 of steals per game.

Now farther into this winning streak… the switch of Gordon into the starting line up has helped the Rockets offensively. Gordon has great chemistry with Harden and Paul and knows how to play with and without the ball.

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What people forget is the three guard line up of Paul-Harden-Gordon was the best offensive line up for the Rockets last year. During any situation where these three players were on the court last year, Houston scored 134.7 points per 100 possessions.

His chemistry with all the starters has helped Harden play like his MVP self. Gordon’s presence in the starting line up and on the court has opened up driving lanes for Harden. This more aggressive version of Harden has scored and made plays with players he made plays with last year. This has given way to a more efficient Rockets offense.

During this winning streak, Harden has averaged 38.6 points per game and the players around him have started making their WIDE OPEN shots. Over the course of the last game, the Rockets broke the NBA record for made three-pointers in a single game and everyone was in on the 26 made three-pointers. The Houston Rockets are playing like last years Rockets and they can give all the credit to Eric Gordon.

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Gordon was a big part of the Houston Rockets early struggles this year and he wasn’t able to make hardly any threes, which is his primary calling card. However, he’s turned his season around which has helped the Rockets turned their’s around. He’s scoring 15 points per game on 30% from three. But he’s converted on over 35% of those the past 13 games compared to under 25% for the first 14.