James Harden’s 30+ point game streak ended on Monday but the Houston Rockets outlook, as a team, is better than ever. Let’s take a look.
Houston Rockets star guard, James Harden has been on a phenomenal streak for a couple of months now. He had scored over 30 points for 32 straight games and was averaging over 40 points for that time period.
However, on Monday in a tilt against the Hawks at the Toyota Center, the streak came to an end. While it was really fun to watch Harden go on this historic run and put the team on his back when he needed to most, it’s not all that bad to see it go.
Why, might you ask? Because he doesn’t need to do it anymore. The team was decimated with injuries and the role players they added, like Carmelo Anthony and James Ennis, did not pan out. Harden had to go on that streak, he had to put the team on his back to win and to keep the team in the playoff picture.
The Houston Rockets need Harden’s streak badly the past two months, without this team was destined for an iconic dropoff. However, that need is over and he doesn’t need to put up 30+ points every night. There will still be some nights where it is needed and some nights where it just happens.
Monday night’s victory over the Hawks proved that this is true, that the Rockets don’t need Harden to carry the lion’s share of the load. Even Harden recognized this and said so after the game. So, the narrative about the Rockets will no longer be about Harden’s streak but what the team is getting ready to do.
Last night, the Houston Rockets were 100% healthy and at full strength for the first time in months. Chris Paul was out with a hamstring for a while but has been back for a little bit and is finally clicking at all cylinders. Clint Capela has been back for about a week and is playing at a high level. Iman Shumpert, one of the more recent additions, is also healthy now and fitting in like a gem.
On top of those three getting healthy, the rest of the team is also playing at a high level. Kenneth Faried has completely transformed his game to match the Rockets style. He is on pace to average career highs in both points and rebounds. The rebounding is the biggest key here because aside from Capela, there isn’t anyone who rebounds at a high level. He’s also knocking down a really good chunk of his triples.
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Austin Rivers has been struggling lately but he is still a valuable asset to the Rockets rotation. He can spell either Harden or Paul as a ball handler and he still has a good ability to be a distributor even when his shot isn’t falling.
I could go on and detail every player but I think you get the picture. The Houston Rockets are finally healthy and at full strength. The outlook for the rest of the season is much better than it has been all season long. Harden’s streak is no longer needed because he once again has a full team behind him ready to help him power a run deep into the playoffs.
The Houston Rockets have 22 games left season and it would be very reasonable to see them win the majority of those games as this healthy team continues to join together to play productive team defense and have great pace while developing more cohesion and chemistry. Approaching and getting to 50 wins isn’t off the table just yet. Watch these Rockets run the table.
The Houston Rockets have had one roller coaster of a season. There’s been some deep valleys and some high points, like Harden’s streak. But, the best is yet to come for this team as they could run it deep into the playoffs.