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Houston Rockets Decline

Houston+Rockets+guard+James+Harden+%2813%29%2C+center+Clint+Capela+%2815%29+and+Orlando+Magic+guard+C.J.+Watson+%2832%29+fight+for+a+rebound+in+the+second+half+of+an+NBA+basketball+game%2C+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+7%2C+2017%2C+in+Houston.+Houston+won+the+game+128-104.+%28AP+Photo%2FEric+Christian+Smith%29
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13), center Clint Capela (15) and Orlando Magic guard C.J. Watson (32) fight for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Houston. Houston won the game 128-104. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13), center Clint Capela (15) and Orlando Magic guard C.J. Watson (32) fight for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Houston. Houston won the game 128-104. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

AP

AP

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13), center Clint Capela (15) and Orlando Magic guard C.J. Watson (32) fight for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Houston. Houston won the game 128-104. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Zain Ali, Writer

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The surprise team of the 2016-2017 season has been the Houston Rockets. At this period, last season Houston held a 26-25 record, compared to this year’s 36-17 record.

The Rockets were .500 last year because of the awful defense they exhibited from start to finish. In overall defense, they finished 27th  and even though they made the playoffs as the 8th seed, the Warriors were waiting to abuse the soft Rockets perimeter.

Golden state won 4-1 and scored an average of 110 points per contest. For the Rockets to win, it felt like Harden had to have a monster performance or else it would be a loss.

Daryl Morey recouped this off-season and got his franchise player some more help by getting rid of the black cloud Dwight Howard and adding sharpshooters Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.

It looked good early as the Rockets started the season on fire holding the number two offense in the league averaging 111 points per game. Even more important was the improvement on defense, which Houston ranked 7th overall.

Adding new coach Mike D’Antoni appeared to be a great move and dispelling the myth of him being a bad defensive coach. Unfortunately, the new year began with the Rockets going back to old habits such as isolation ball, an abundance of turnovers, and most importantly horrible defense.

With Patrick Beverly, Trevor Ariza and shot blocker Clint Capela there should be no excuse for the bad defense being displayed nightly.

In the month of February, the Houston Rockets boasted a defense that just as last year, ranked 27th in the NBA while their scoring output dropped 5 PPG. That’s a bad recipe for success as the Rockets have lost 8 of their last 14 games.

The playoffs are far away, and the potential for this team is through the roof if they fix the defensive issues that continue to plague them. Nobody will want to play James Harden and the sharpshooters that surround him in the playoffs.

Developing bad habits are detrimental to any team, and hopefully, the all-star break will fix all of the struggles the Rockets have and focus on being a force in the western conference.

All stats are from http://stats.nba.com/

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Houston Rockets Decline