The Houston Rockets' brand new backcourt is looking pretty intimidating to the rest of the NBA right now. The Rockets are now 2-0 after a 109-102 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta, building on a 105-96 win in Detroit. Here are the numbers for the two young guards through the first two games.
James Harden: 41 PPG, 64% FG, 87% FT, 7 APG, 6.5 RPG, 2 SPG, +35 differential
Jeremy Lin: 16.5 PPG, 39% FG, 90%FT, 7.5 APG, 7 RPG, 2 SPG, +32 differential
Harden is making efficient use of the minutes and touches that he was not getting previously with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also continues to pass well, find open men and not require too many shots to get his points.
Lin is meshing well with Harden and rest of the offense, despite having been with them for only a short time. When these two guys are on the court together, they are dominating on both ends. In addition to passing well and working together, they are playing improved defense. This is especially true for Lin, for whom defense was a problem in 2011.
The Rockets have a relatively soft schedule coming up, including four winnable games against the Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and then a rematch against the Detroit Pistons. A 6-0 start is not out of the question, which would set up an intriguing game against the defending champion Miami Heat.
One thing to keep an eye on going forward is minutes played. Both Lin and Harden played 40 minutes Friday night. Relying on these guys too much could be a problem over an 82-game season. Lin played only 27 minutes per game last year but missed the tail end of the 2011-12 season and the whole 2012 playoffs with a torn meniscus.
For now, Rockets fans can rejoice. They have a tandem of guards that is running other teams ragged and working together brilliantly. The result is an efficient and entertaining offense, which at least for now leads the NBA in scoring.