Houston Rockets: How Have They Managed to Turn Their Season Around?
Since the Houston Rockets started out the season a dismal 0-5, they have put themselves back into the playoff hunt with a 15-16 record. Their last loss was only by five points to a red-hot Miami Heat team.
Houston has certainly made quite a turnaround; it might be compared to the 2005 Houston Astros team, who went 15 games under .500 but fought back and made it to the World Series, but of course the Rockets would have to make it to the Finals for it to be comparable.
But how did the Rockets recover from such a dismal start?
Kevin Martin is having himself quite a year. Averaging 23.4 points per game, he's only taking 15 shots a game; that makes his 23.4 points a game even more incredible. He's also second in the league in points per minute only behind some fellow named Kobe Bryant.
If those credentials weren't enough, Kevin is on his way to be the first person EVER in the history of the NBA to have made the most free throws and three-pointers in a season. Oh, and he's shooting 90 percent from the line and 44 percent from three.
Kevin has been a real factor in the Rockets' resurgence this season. I think everything above has shown you that.
Luis is averaging 20 points and eight rebounds per game this season as Houston's low post threat.
Who knew a guy who you could pencil in for a solid 15-and-7 every night would turn out to be a potential All-Star?
Although he probably won't make the All-Star Game, he is easily a top-10 power forward in the game today, and the energy he plays with can be matched by few.
Whenever you make a trip to California and you don't play the Lakers...chances are you're going to come away with a win. That's exactly what the Rockets did in taking advantage of the Kings, Clippers and Warriors on the road.
But Houston's December schedule has consisted of four games where they play a team over .500.
This schedule has allowed them to climb back in the playoff race, but they have a tough task lying ahead in January playing a lot of elite teams. We'll see how they handle it.
Houston finally decided it was about time to stop letting the other team score quite as much as usual. They've done so very effectively as of late.
Kyle Lowry is part of the reason, as when Aaron Brooks went out with injury, Lowry took over as starting point guard and is a much more physical and defensive-minded guard than Brooks.
With Brooks back, it'll be interesting to see how Houston handles their point guard situation.
The Rockets bench, Jordan Hill in particular, has played extremely well lately. The bench players bring energy and tempo to the Rockets any time they come on the floor.
When Terrence Williams gets playing time, it's just going to make them even deeper and more dangerous off the bench. Houston is one of the deepest teams in the league and they are showing teams why.
When Houston realized Yao wasn't coming back, they knew they had to play their ass off to stay in the playoff hunt and that's exactly what they did.
Houston is currently a game behind Portland for the eighth seed in the playoffs, and John Hollinger's playoff odds has Houston with a 55 percent chance of making the playoffs.
With GM Daryl Morey working the phones, only good things can happen to this Rockets team and they will continue to play this way and make the playoffs.
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