Houston Rockets Cruise Past OKC Thunder, Await Lake-Show Next Sunday in LA

Denton Ramsey@DentonRamseySenior Analyst INovember 7, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on October 28, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Somebody forgot to tell the Houston Rockets they weren’t supposed to be this good.

But if you were to poll the players on the team, they’d beg to differ as Houston’s hoops team entered this season with high hopes and high expectations.

So far, so good.

One game after falling to the defending NBA Champs in a loss the Rockets feel they very well could have (and likely should have) won, Houston bounced back with a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night in the Lone Star State.

And oh yeah, it was time to break out the ketchup and mustard on Friday night at Toyota Center as well with the Rockets breaking out their new alternative uniforms (which closely mimic the old-school uniforms from the back-to-back title days).

In addition to the starting five for Houston continuing to play phenomenal basketball, the Rockets’ bench players are also making a major impact for the team, with players such as Kyle Lowry, Carl Landry, and Chase Budinger stepping up big-time.

“We've got unselfish guys on the team,” Houston’s Budinger, who scored 16 points in 22 minutes in the Rockets’ 105-94 victory over the Thunder, told Rockets.com staff writer Jason Friedman. “Nobody on this team is playing for themselves. We are playing together as a whole team and everybody has got one goal in mind, and that is to win ball games. When you do that you are going to play well together.”

Houston’s next four games conclude with a Sunday evening contest against the L.A. Lakers at Staples Center (tipping off at 8:30 p.m. CST on Nov. 15).

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The three games sandwiched in between that rematch are obviously vital as well, with the Rockets facing Dallas on the road (Tuesday, Nov. 10), hosting Memphis (Wednesday, Nov. 11), and then flying to California for a matchup with Sacramento (Friday, Nov. 13).

“Anytime you lose two superstars in Yao [Ming] and Tracy [McGrady], you have to change your style,” Rockets team leader and co-captain Shane Battier said.

“We can't have reliance on one guy to bail us out and we don't have a Kevin Durant to throw the ball to and take over and win the game for us. So, what we have to do is play team ball and share the basketball and move and cut and play for each other. As a result, we've had some pretty good balance early on.”

Hopefully, Houston can continue to maintain that balance.

At 4-2, look for the Rockets to enter Staples Center next Sunday with six (and maybe even seven) wins as they face the Lakers in what will surely be a great show from start to finish.

Personally, I can’t wait…

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at denton.ramsey@gmail.com

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