Seven Stats or Less: Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are one of the best teams in the league. Mike D’Antoni, a viable coach of the year candidate, has reinvented the offense and helped the team bounce back from a down year last season. Additionally, the front office made subtle moves that turned into fruitful returns for the team. General Manager Daryl Morey added Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson to run with James Harden in an offensive juggernaut. That should not go unnoticed when discussing executive of the year. Harden is third in the league in scoring, first in assists and has a legitimate case for MVP. Third in the Western Conference with a record of 35-16, Houston has the potential to return to the Conference Finals and challenge the Golden State Warriors.
- The Houston Rockets are number one in the league in catch and shoot three-point attempts. They make them at an efficient 38 percent. The way the shots come in the scheme of their offense is close to unguardable as they have a top-two offensive rating, second only to the Golden State Warriors. Teams are going to have to be able to get out and contest these shots if they want a chance at slowing them down.
- The Rockets are adverse to the mid-range shot. They rank last in the league in those types of shots with 7.6 attempts. For perspective, the second ranked team in the Western Conference takes a league leading 25 mid-range shots a game. The lack of those shots are clearly a by-product of the Mike D’antoni offense.
- In the last six games, Houston has a 108.2 defensive rating. They’ve allowed over 120 or more points in four of those games. 125 in a loss to Golden State, 127 in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, 120 in a loss to the Boston Celtics and 120 in yet another loss to the Indiana Pacers. In the last six games Houston’s opponents are averaging 53 points in the paint and 15 fast break points — both higher than their season average. The defense might come back to hold them back in terms of postseason success if they don’t shore up some deficiencies.
- The Rockets have drawn the second most charges in the league at 1.04 per game. Patrick Beverly is third among guards in charges drawn. Montrezl Harrell is seventh among forwards. Charges are one of the best ways to stop the flow of an opponent’s momentum and also gain extra possessions.
- James Harden isolates the fourth most of any player in the league. His 6.1 points from isolation leads the NBA. Harden averages 29.1 points a game, which is third most in the NBA. He’s one of the premier scorers in the league. His skills with the basketball coupled with his strength allows him to take his man either to the hoop or shoot over him.
- James Harden and Russell Westbrook are two of the only players to possess an assist percentage of at least 51 percent this season with a minimum of 45 games. Both players have a legitimate case for MVP, based on the historical context of their respective seasons.
- James Harden has two of the only three 50-point triple doubles in the league. Westbrook has the other one.
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