'09 Houston Rockets Symbolize Team Basketball at its Finest

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'09 Houston Rockets Symbolize Team Basketball at its Finest
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In case you haven't noticed, the Houston Rockets, without a single player that has averaged 20 points in an NBA season, are 3-1 to start the season.

The Rockets waltzed into Energy Solutions Arena last night and ran the Jazz out of the building, on their way to a 17-point victory in their finest game of the season so far.

Yes, the same Energy Solutions Arena that has been a house of horrors for the Rockets franchise in recent years. 

So, how were the Rockets, with their undersized squad of misfits, able to do something their teams with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady couldn't?

These Rockets are simply outworking their opponents.

Without a clear-cut No. 1 option on offense, they're able to spread it around, and wherever there's an open shot, it's taken, regardless of who takes it.

This is how the Rockets were able to get eight players into double-figure scoring.

Houston doesn't have Yao Ming down low, with his career scoring average of 19 points per game.

No matter, the Rockets' frontcourt of Luis Scola, David Andersen, Chuck Hayes, and Carl Landry combined for 39 points in Salt Lake City.

Houston doesn't have No. 1 scoring threats on the wings either, with Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest out of the picture.

No problem at all, as Chase Budinger, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier combined to score 45.

Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry, 24 and 23 years-old, respectively, look like seasoned veterans.

Neither of them is taller than six feet, yet they are relentless in their efforts to get to the rim, and it's been paying off. 

The pair of point guards epitomizes the attitude of the Rockets in that they won't give up, and they certainly won't be intimidated, no matter how many seven-footers or 20-points-per-game scorers they'll be going up against.

Rick Adelman's up-tempo style has been working to perfection, and the Rockets are beating the opposition down the court, getting themselves easy buckets before the defenses are able to blink.

It seems as though whenever there's a loose ball, it winds up in the hands of Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier, Kyle Lowry, or Carl Landry. 

The Rockets are fourth in the league in turnovers forced, at about 19 per game, and this is a trend that is likely to keep up all year long.

Through the first four games, there's been a very noticeable difference in how hard the Rockets are working compared to their opponents. 

You know this is meaningful when a team coached by Jerry Sloan is badly out-hustled, especially on their own floor. 

This is the absolute key to the Rockets' success.

Is Trevor Ariza going to be a 20-point-per-game scorer all year, as he has been through the first week?

Will the Rockets be able to successfully integrate Tracy McGrady once he returns from injury?

Will Aaron Brooks' frail frame hold up playing significant minutes for 82 games for the first time in his career?

These and many more questions remain, but if the first four games are any indication, the Rockets will be around until the end.

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