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It may be hard to believe considering the Houston Rockets are just the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but James Harden and company are the NBA’s second-best scoring team in terms of points per game (104.9).
They proved just how offensively potent they can be in a 45-point road win at Utah, which is known as one of the toughest places to play on the road.
In fact, the Rockets have six different players averaging double-digit points per game. Offensively, Houston has created a very balanced attack.
Kevin McHale has done an amazing job this season molding a young Rockets roster into a potential playoff team. If this team hopes to hold on and make the postseason, however, the young roster (led by the young backcourt) will have to continue to shine and perhaps play even better.
Jeremy Lin experienced a rough start to the 2012-13 season, posting just 10.2 points per game in November. Although he’s turned his fortunes around a bit, his scoring average and shooting percentages are down across the board compared to last season with the New York Knicks.
Additionally, Lin is still turning the ball over more than three times per game, although he is contributing two steals per game.
Meanwhile, Harden, who has blossomed into a superstar in Houston, could also stand to improve his shooting efficiency.
The former Sixth Man of the Year award winner is pouring in 26 points per game, fifth-best in the NBA. But despite the lofty numbers, during a seven-game losing streak in January, Harden had off-shooting nights of 21.7 percent against Dallas, 26.3 percent against Indiana and 27.8 percent against Minnesota. He followed that up by shooting 5-of-20 in a win against the Charlotte Bobcats.
It’s silly to blame Harden for anything because he’s the reason the Rockets have been a surprise team this year. However, if the Rockets are going to hold off other playoff bubble teams, he has to show up big on a nightly basis.
It's clear that the Rockets' success depends heavily on Harden and Lin.