Rockets’ firepower could test Warriors
The Houston Rockets spent most of the fourth quarter Wednesday night in Los Angeles bricking three-pointers, 13 in all.
Coach Mike D’Antoni’s club ultimately missed its final 15 tries from beyond the arc but still finished with 20 three-pointers in a 122-103 win over the Clippers. Houston peppered the New Orleans Pelicans with 24 threes in mid-December, which was tied for the singlegame record before the Cleveland Cavaliers broke it Friday.
Entering Saturday, the Rockets had hoisted 2,514 three-point tries, nearly 500 more than any other team in the league and the fourth most in NBA history. At this rate, they will post 3,324 for the season, easily an NBA record.
Rewind a decade: The Golden State Warriors led the league by attempting 1,966 three-pointers during 82 games. Think the NBA has changed? Houston had made 912 threes entering Saturday, the third most in league history, with 20 games left. More than 38 percent of its points come from three-point territory. The Rockets are the league’s equivalent of a fireworks display.
As forward Ryan Anderson, who has hit 168 threes, told ESPN, “You don’t realize how many threepointers we’re taking because it’s so natural for the way we play.”
General Manager Daryl Morey’s petri dish of a roster isn’t sacrificing efficiency, either: Despite taking about seven more three-pointers than any other team in the NBA, Houston entered the weekend tied for 13th in percentage (36.3). Those shots translate into an onslaught of points. The Rockets reached the 100point mark for the 48th straight game Wednesday, a team record.
Speaking of points, it’s no surprise that Golden State has the league’s top offense, scoring 113.5 points per 100 possessions entering the weekend. But Houston, pouring in 112, is within range of that figure. Both rank in the top three in the Western Conference standings, and there’s a chance the two could meet in the postseason.
If so, Houston might have the formula to pull off an upset.
The Rockets are 1-1 against Golden State this season and have averaged 120 points. And that was without sixth man of the year candidate Lou Williams, who was added near the trade deadline.
It’s unknown how this would play out over a seven-game series. But Golden State has grown accustomed to out-sniping its opponents from three-point territory under Coach Steve Kerr.
If nothing else, the Rockets have the firepower to hang with the juggernaut Warriors. For entertainment value, you can hope that the two meet in the playoffs.