Rock­ets’ fire­power could test War­riors

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - FANCY STATS BY JOSH PLANOS sports@wash­post.com

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.

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