The Rockets Report

Another week, another 4 wins as Rockets up win streak to 13

Chris Paul and James Harden are wrecking shop on the NBA right now. Houston Rockets/Facebook

Sometimes it’s great to be wrong. An example of that is when you end your last article trying to be as objective as possible, predict the Rockets’ winning streak will end, and they mow through a four-game work week undefeated. Those are the moments when I’m happy to admit I was mistaken.

Led by the consensus leading MVP candidate James Harden, the Rockets have now ripped off 13 straight wins while maintaining the best record in the league. If they’re able to survive Monday’s test against the Jazz, expect the streak to continue through Christmas.

Game 25: Rockets vs New Orleans Pelicans (W, 130-123)

With Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis out with an injury, it looked as though the Rockets would cruise to their 10th straight victory. That was nowhere near the case, as DeMarcus Cousins and company fired out of the gate and matched the Rockets point for point. Cousins set the tone early with a stop and pop 3-pointer early in the first.

“None of this makes any sense,” My friend explained.

I agreed.

E’Twaun Moore scored 36, Jrue Holiday added 37, and Rajon Rondo added a vintage triple-double in what seemed to be a streak-ending Pelicans victory. Harden would have none of that, scoring 12 straight late in the fourth quarter to take the lead and seal the victory. Clint Capela scored a career high 28 points on 13 of 14 shooting. Harden would finish one assist shy of his career high with 17, to go along with 26 points and 6 steals. Eric Gordon was 5-6 from three point range, adding 27 points off the bench.

Game 26: Rockets vs Charlotte Hornets (W, 108-96)

Dwight Howard returned to the Toyota Center for the first time this season and hung 26 points and 18 rebounds on the Rockets, but a 25-0 run by Houston in the first half proved to be too much for the Hornets to recover from. In a scary moment early on, Luc Richard Mbah Moute crashed hard to the ground and left in the first half with a dislocated shoulder. Chris Paul led the Rockets with 31 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Clint Capela added 11 rebounds and 4 blocks. Harden finished with 21 points.

Game 27: Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs (W, 124-109)

The then 19-10 Spurs headed to Houston to take on the Rockets for the first time this season since embarrassing Harden and company in the second round of last season’s playoffs. As part of an ESPN nationally televised double-header highlighted by the return from injury of Kawhi Leonard for the Spurs, the matchup looked to be one of the toughest tests the Rockets had faced all season. This, however, was not the case at all.

The Spurs hung on throughout most of the first quarter with their trademark tenacity on defense, but it was Paul who would bust the game open in the second and never look back. The Rockets lead by 17 at the half on the way to a blowout victory that was never in jeopardy from then on. Paul would finish 5-9 from 3-point range with 28 points, 8 assists and 7 steals. Harden had 28 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds.

Game 28: Rockets vs Milwaukee Bucks (W, 115-111)

After playing four games in five days the Rockets tipped off against the Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks as the second part of back-to-back games. The Rockets looked noticeably gassed, and with Capela sitting due to a heel bruise, Antetokounmpo was free to do his damage in the paint with little resistance.

Yet, even as tired and injury-riddled as they were, the Rockets would prove once again to be a hard out. The Rockets would play small for most of the game, with Ryan Anderson playing center and P.J. Tucker starting at power forward. In spite of 16 lead changes, the Rockets would finally pull away just enough early in the fourth to secure a grinder of a game. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 28 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Harden paced the Rockets with 31 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds. Paul added 25 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Six of the eight Rockets that checked into the game scored in double figures. Anderson was shut out for the first time this season.


  • Saturday's win against the Bucks stretched their winning streak to 13 games, which is tied for third best in Rockets history. Their longest streak was in 2007-2008 when they went on an improbable 22-game winning streak, which is the fourth best in NBA history.

  • According to’s MVP tracker, James Harden is currently number one with a 66.2% probability of winning. The Rockets are 3-0 versus the next 4 candidate’s teams (LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kevin Durant). Clint Capela currently ranks 7th on the list.

  • Speaking of streaks and Harden, The beard is currently has a streak of his own going. In the past 29 games dating back to last season, Harden has failed to score less than 20 points in a game. That streak is tied with Moses Malone for the best in Rockets history.

Looking Ahead:

The Rockets are looking at a very soft part of their schedule with home games against the Jazz and Lakers, followed by a friday away game against the Clippers. These are all sub .500 teams, sporting a combined record of 35-50. The Utah Jazz had been showing signs of life until Rudy Gobert went down yet again, this time with a PCL injury. The last time the Jazz played in the Toyota Center, Harden scored or assisted on 91 total points, which is the third highest such output in NBA history. In the first matchup against the Lakers, the Rockets held Lonzo Ball to 2 points, 1 assist, and 2 rebounds, winning by 23. The Clippers are 11-17, going 3-6 in their last 9 contests. Friday will be their first matchup this season with the Rockets.

Until the Gobert injury, I assumed that the toughest test would be this Monday against the Jazz. As I stated above, it looks very likely that they’ll carry their winning streak into their Christmas day matchup against the Thunder.


Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Nick Caserio's history of drafting injury prone players has become a problem. Composite Getty Image.

Nick Caserio was hired to serve as the general manager (GM) of the Texans on January 7, 2021. Some saw it as another nod to the organization's obsession with the Patriots. Others saw it as the team finally getting their guy after pursuing him previously. They were even hit with a tampering charge while trying to talk to him about the job. Since he's been on the job, there have been highs and lows.

Recently, the news about Kenyon Green and Derek Stingley Jr put a stain on his tenure. Green was placed on season-ending injured reserve (IR) and Stingley Jr is expected to be placed on IR, likely missing six to eight weeks, per Aaron Wilson. Both guys were Caserio's 2022 first rounders. Both guys are starting to look like busts and have fans a little more than just upset.

Green's case was curious because he was said to have needed surgery before he tore his labrum during the Saints preseason game. He had knee surgery this past offseason. There were knee injury concerns when he was coming out of A&M. Adding to his injuries, Green has played poorly. To make matters worse, the Chargers drafted fellow guard Zion Johnson two picks later. Johnson played all 17 games last season as a rookie at right guard and has moved to left guard this season. The pick used to draft Green was part of a trade back with the Eagles. They used the 13th overall pick to take Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a guy at a position this team could desperately use.

Stingley Jr was a highly touted recruit coming into LSU as a freshman. He played as well as any corner in the country that year. Oh, and they won a national title with arguably one of the best teams in college football history. His net two years in Baton Rouge were marred with injuries. Some believed his junior year was more him holding back to stay healthy for the draft. It worked because he was taken third overall, one spot ahead of Sauce Gardner. Gardner went on to be an All Pro as a rookie. While he's surrounded by more talent on the Jets' defense, people will forever link them because Stingley Jr hasn't lived up to expectations. He missed six games last season and is set to miss at least that many this season. When he has played, he's looked okay. “Okay” isn't what you want from a guy drafted third overall ahead of the other guy who was widely considered better than him.

For the 2021 draft, Caserio was handcuffed. He had no first or second rounders, and made a few trades that lessened his draft pool from eight to five picks. Of the five guys drafted that year, only Nico Collins seems to be a player. The 2022 draft was more productive. Although Green and Stingley Jr were the headliners and haven't played up to the hype, the others are carrying the load. Jalen Pitre and Dameon PIerce alone make that draft class dope. This past draft was seen as the one to save the franchise so to speak. Getting C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr got the team a franchise quarterback and edge rusher with picks two and three overall. The price paid to move back up to three was hefty and puts more scrutiny on Anderson Jr. They appear, so far, to have also found a couple other nice players. Tank Dell being the hidden gem of this class.

While people can't, and shouldn't, base Caserio's performance strictly off of the guys he's drafted, one must call it into question. The '21 draft was a wash. The '22 draft looks suspect, but has some redeeming qualities. The '23 draft will most likely be his saving grace. But should it? Former Texans GM Rick Smith nailed almost every first rounder he drafted. Even he was almost run out of town because folks didn't like what he did. Why should Caserio be any different? So what if he cleaned up the mess by the previous regime! That's what he was hired to do!

“Keep that same energy!” That phrase is used when people try to hold others to different standards. Where's that energy everyone had for Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby, Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, David Culley, and Lovie Smith? When others weren't performing well, their heads were called for. I see some people holding Caserio accountable. For the most part, it appears as if he's getting a bit of a pass. I'll be interested to see if this continues should the team has another subpar season. If that pick they traded to the Cardinals is another top 10 pick and the Browns pick the Texans own isn't...if Green can't come back and/or Stingley Jr doesn't show any signs of being a lockdown corner...then what? Let's hope none of this comes to fruition. If it does, we'll have to revisit this conversation.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome