The In­cred­i­ble Fly­ing 3-Ballers: a.k.a. the Hous­ton Rock­ets

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: The Rock­ets are an an­a­lytic junkie’s Holy Grail team. And that sect has al­ways lived by this sen­ti­ment, among oth­ers: If you shoot a bil­lion 3-point­ers, it doesn’t mat­ter if the per­cent­age is low, the three points for a made shot make it worth it. Well, not only are the Rock­ets es­chew­ing most other shots for the trey, they’re mak­ing nearly 40 per­cent of them. In the NBA, four of the top nine play­ers in 3-point at­tempts are Rock­ets. The Golden State War­riors of last sea­son were the first team to ever make more than 1,000 threes (1,077). That team made 13.1 per game. The Rock­ets check in at 14.8 this sea­son; that would oblit­er­ate the league record for made threes per game in a sea­son. The Rock­ets are on a pace to make more than — sit down for this — 1,200 3-point­ers. And they’re on pace to at­tempt more than 3,100 this sea­son, be­com­ing the first team to eclipse the 3,000 3-point shot bar­rier. The Rock­ets have set the record for 3-point at­tempts in a game twice this sea­son — first with 50 in a game, then with 61 on Fri­day night in a 122-100 rout of New Or­leans. Those are dizzy­ing num­bers to see on pa­per, much less watch it all go down on the court on a nightly ba­sis.

Back­ground: Fri­day night the Rock­ets blasted off to un­charted starry skies, launch­ing 3-point­ers as if it were the last night the op­por­tu­nity would ex­ist, and in the process they set an NBA record for treys made in a game (24).

Dempsey’s take: The D-League ex­per­i­ment has fi­nally reached the NBA. Two years ago, the Rio Grande Val­ley Vipers, Hous­ton’s D-League af­fil­i­ate, gained no­to­ri­ety for play­ing “threes and dunks” bas­ket­ball. The pace was the fastest of any pro­fes­sional team in two decades, nearly half the shots taken were from the 3-point line, and the mas­ter plan was to get that style to the NBA. And here we are. As of Satur­day, the Rock­ets were tak­ing a ridicu­lous 44 per­cent of their shots from the 3-point line. And it’s work­ing. Hous­ton was 20-7 head­ing into the week­end, boosted by 400 made 3-point­ers.

Trevor Ariza shoots one of Hous­ton’s NBA-record 61 3-point at­tempts Fri­day night against New Or­leans. Hous­ton won 122-100.

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