The Houston Rockets are clawing their way out of the sinkhole that trapped them at the bottom of the Western Conference this NBA season. With the Golden State Warriors confidently closing in on yet another championship win, the Dwight Howard squad attempts to climb back up in the division. Moreover, James Harden now feels the pressure to back up his word during the offseason. That is, he has to prove that he is the more deserving MVP than Stephen Curry.
In the recent road performance of the Houston Rockets, the Ty Lawson squad handed a blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies at 107-91. Before this victory, the Paul George's Indiana Pacers and Rudy Gobert's Utah Jazz also fell victim to what appears to be a reinvigorated Jason Terry squad. In the interviews following their wins, the Houston Rockets stars attribute their improved performance to Harden.
"He elevates everybody when he is the playmaker," said Cory Brewer of Harden, according to ESPN. The small forward added, "When the ball pops and he's moving it around, guys are getting wide-open shots. You've just got to make the shots."
Harden also shared that he and his teammates gained more confidence in their games as of late. The boyfriend of Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Khloe Kardashian also displayed stronger leadership in the matches. He said, "That's what I do, not just score the basketball, just getting my teammates shots. They were confident and knocking them down, and that's why we won the game."
Apart from himself, Harden stated that the rest of the Houston Rockets also contributed to their success. He noted, "I think everyone stepped up at some point in the game. Trevor, Brew, Pat, Dwight were beasting in there. That's the type of effort we need from everyone throughout every single game. Some games, other guys are going to struggle, so I'm just proud of the ways the guys stepped up."
Meanwhile, it looks like the new coach of the Houston Rockets is also making strides in learning how to manage the team. JB Bickerstaff, who took on the head coach role earlier this NBA season, had been put in the spotlight unexpectedly when the front office decided to fire Kevin McHale. As he navigated the new territory, Bickerstaff shared that he might be making some breakthroughs recently.
"Every day you learn something," shared Bickerstaff, according to a separate ESPN report. He added, "That's the same as an assistant coach and the same as a head coach. You should continue to learn. You watch so much basketball you should see something somewhere from somebody different all the time. I hope I continue to learn. If I don't then I know everything."
While the Houston Rockets are showing signs of improvement, Daryl Morey believes that the NBA team still has a long way to go. According to the group's general manager, the turnover rates and other defense issues have yet to b resolved. Hence, Morey hopes to see further growth from all the players on the roster.
"We're improving but still far away from where we wanted to be," said Morey of the Houston Rockets, according to the Washington Post. The GM added, "We wanted to be in the top tier of contenders in the league. We are not there now, and we have to continue to improve to get there."