With the way this 2018 season has started for the Rockets, it was no doubt in my mind that the Spurs would make a comeback late in the game on Saturday night. Missed 3’s, sloppy passes and suddenly this writer is pouring another glass of whiskey thinking, “Dear God, I have to write a story about these dude’s collapsing again? Great Christmas”. However, by the skin of their teeth, and much scoring from the MVP, the Rockets pulled away late to win 108-10.
Harden has had six straight games of at least 30 points while playing 40 plus minutes in 4 of those six games. To put this into perspective, Kobe had a run of 9 straight 30 point games in 2006-2007. Could you imagine the insanity if Harden does this for the next week or 2? Harden has completely carried this team even before the Chris Paul injury.
However, as much as we love watching the way Harden play this way, this isn’t a successful route to take playing a superstar. However, as of right now it’s working and even with the Austin Rivers signing, don’t expect James to take mins off for now. He will continue to play as much as D’Antoni and the team needs.
However, even with the win against the Spurs we must look at the entirety of the game and understand how it unfolded. This was a game that should have never come down to the last 2 minutes. This was a 14 point game to begin the 4th quarter and should have never gotten close, to begin with. In that aspect, some blame must be handed out for players who have not played well.
Eric Gordon continues to struggle from the 3 point line, and it doesn’t seem to this reporter that it is going to get better any sooner. Most will look and see the 4 3’s but taking 12 and 13 attempts the past two games has him looking desperately for his shot. Only shooting 30.2% from 3 this season is just unacceptable with the way Gordon played last season.
Gordon and this team collectively will have to continue to shoot even when cold, but at some point, these are going to have to go in for this team to stay afloat while Paul is nursing his hamstring injury.
With the addition of guard Austin Rivers on Sunday afternoon, GM Daryl Morey has no started to add NBA caliber pieces to this team. Moving forward look for Morey to use Brandon Knight or others plus draft picks to try and acquire key forwards and pieces. Look for the likes of Kent Bazemore and Caldwell Pope to be rumored to the Rockets within the next two weeks or so.
A win is a win, but this team’s killer instinct is not the same as last year. The way things are going this season, have some whiskey on hand and hope that they figure it out. If not, be prepared for headaches and yelling at the TV more often then not.