Stronger finish needed
What did we learn from the Rockets loss opening night?
There were some good things but bad things as well. What can the Rockets lock on so they can finish games stronger? Here are some things that need to be re-insured so they can be more equipped against stronger teams this season.
Things that stuck out:
The most impressive thing Thursday night was Mr. Westbrook by far. He shot for 42% from three and had 24 points. Westbrook gives the Rockets more athleticism on the court in all phases. His court vision was unmatched by seeing Eric Gordon or PJ Tucker in the corner for threes. He was also exceptionally well in the pick and roll with Clint Capela or Tyson Chandler. Westbrook continuously set his centers up for perfectly thrown lobs throughout the game. As we could see, Westbrook is an upgrade at point guard for the Rockets this season. He helped carry the load Thursday because of James Harden's bad shooting night. This trade could actually plan out to something great despite Westbrook and Harden arguing.
What hurt the Rockets last night?
Even though Harden had 19 points last night, he shot 2/13 from the field last night. Not your typical night when you see Harden shoot poorly from the field. Harden had a tough Thursday night finding the basket. Did that discourage him from taking more shots? Harden told reporters after the game that he was not aggressive enough offensively. He went to the free throw line 14 times and was perfect. Harden going to free throw line that much is typical "Harden Play." Hopefully the outside chatter is not getting in his head. One thing that stood out from him Thursday night was that he had 14 assists. It looks like Harden can trust his teammates more by keeping them engaged. Harden looked exceptionally well by running the offense, keeping the crowd engaged, and not worrying about his poor offensive play.
Eric Gordon struggled from the field as well by only having 11 points to show Thursday night. He shot 25% from three but luckily it is the first game of the season. Gordon will eventually overcome this slump. He is a great shooter but it needs to show it in games like this. Most of his shots were great looks but Gordon could not get them to fall.
Mike D'Antoni has to make better defensive rotations in the fourth quarter. There is no reason at all for Tucker to be guarding Brooke Lopez in the post. The Rockets were not playing the San Francisco Warriors where they can play small the whole entire game. Tucker is a great defender but tall enough to guard a Lopez. D'Antoni has to adjust his defensive game plan so the Rockets can maintain the lead.
Will Harden or Gordon always shoot poorly from the field this season? NO! It is only the first game so please relax. Things will get better for the Houston Rockets.