Following the footsteps of NASA, Houston Rockets are aiming for the moon; the NBA championship. With the 3rd best record in the league, the Rockets are gradually building themselves up for the long run to the top of the ladder.

The James Harden-Chris Paul (CP3) led talented bunch is the 2nd best team in the league in points per game and net rating courtesy of their flabbergasting ball playing.

Over the course of 44 games, the Rockets have claimed a record of 32-12 and their most recent achievement was taking down the Warriors fair and square.

Both CP3 and Harden suffered injuries and it kept them away from each other’s company for a while but it did not reflect on the team’s winning record as they kept their winning ways with players stepping up when needed. Recently Harden suffered a grade 2 hamstring injury during a match up against the Lakers on January 1st and it was only after missing 7 games that he returned under minutes restrictions against the Timberwolves.

In the absence of Harden, CP3 and Eric Gordon played major roles to carry the Rockets to a 4-3 record. Last night with the addition of Harden into the roster, the Rockets made sure that they got payback for the loss they suffered against the Warriors on the 5th of January as the scores read 116-108 when the buzzer went off.

Despite having a shorthanded roster due to Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green serving the second game of a 2 game suspension for trying to enter the Clippers locker room forcibly last Tuesday, the Rockets never let the Warriors gain control over them. The biggest lead of 4 points that the Warriors could muster with 6:47 minutes left during the 4th quarter didn’t do them any favors as the Rockets’ timely plays and defensive execution aided them in grabbing the win.

Since the beginning of the 1st quarter, the Rockets made sure to stay active on the defensive end as the Warriors are known for their high-powered offence and it was repaid. At the end of the 1st quarter the scores read 40-28 with the Rockets sitting on top. To pair up with the tightened screws on pushing the Warriors to tough ends on the floor, Paul and Harden made consecutive baskets to which the opposition had no answers.

It was during the 2nd quarter that the red clad ballers took it really into the Warriors as they kept both ends of the floor busy while extending the lead. With 2:58 minutes left on the clock for halftime, the Rockets had a 17 point lead which later came in handy as the Warriors kept crawling back to the game since the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

The 3rd quarter is usually the time when the Curry led gang starts to inch away from oppositions or to keep crawling back into the game and they did just that. 9-14 from the floor with 6 made 3 points gave them the momentary lead during the 3rd quarter to which the Rockets shrewdly answered with a 9-2 run after a tie game with a mere 3 minutes left. Step back 3 over Curry and a block at the defensive end by Harden on a 3 point attempt by Curry at crunch time sealed the game as the Rockets are now 2-1 against Warriors this season.

Chris Paul who has been directing the Rockets from the top of the key with the prolonged point guard role during Harden’s absence went along his merry way of scoring as his stuffed the stat sheet with 33 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals with 6-11 from the 3 point territory.

CP3 wasn’t used to the 3 point shooting based offence before landing at Houston but his adjustment to the new system has made them highly lethal.

Harden who struggled and didn’t seem like himself against the Timberwolves, showed signs of being normal as he scored 22 points and 8 assists to go along with 14, 18 and 12 points made respectively by Luc MbahaMoute, Clint Capela and P.J. Tucker as the veteran 3 point shooter Ryan Anderson kept eating the glass with 13 boards.

Overall the team performance of the Rockets paired up with off nights by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson who went 6-20 and 3-11 from the field, snapped the Warriors 14 “road game” winning streak. The efforts of Green, Durant and Young who scored 21, 26 and 16 points respectively were proven to be inadequate. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wasn’t thrilled about the end of the streak but seemed happy about the journey.

The importance of Rockets-Warriors matchup is that the two teams meeting at Western Conference finals has a high probability and the previews we get of Rockets posing a legit threat to Warriors might be an indication of a team from West finally being able to dethrone the unimpeachable Warriors. 

Who knows whether the Cavs, who might win the Eastern Conference, will survive the 3 point storm the Rockets bring and it might actually give the them a chance to win it all.

If they manage to do so, once the season ends, LeBron James who will reach free agency this year might consider joining them as the Rockets management wasn’t so secretive about giving their best shot at James when the time comes.

Already the playoffs are guaranteed to blow our minds and only time will tell the story of whichever the courageous team that will come on top of all. 
That’s a wrap for this week and to keep you going till next week, feast your eyes upon the handling skills of CP3; the dribbling god.

Keep balling!