Rockets 142, Nets 145 - Ludicrous

By Forrest Walker on January 16, 2019

This was a ludicrous, ridiculous game from tip off. The Houston Rockets hosted the recently-frisky Brooklyn Nets and lost a game that wasn't just somehow a loss, or somehow an overtime game, or somehow close or somehow a huge night for James Harden or somehow a huge night for Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen. It was somehow everything. It was bad, it was good, and it wasn't actually good at all. At least it's over.

Rockets 109, Magic 116 - Letdown

By Forrest Walker on January 13, 2019

The Houston Rockets can beat anyone or lose to anyone on any given night. Even short-handed, they've racked up impressive wins against the best teams in the league. Also, they've lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers and, tonight, the Orlando Magic. Alone, a game like this is little to worry about. As part of the larger season, the Rockets continue to have cause for concern, ever after winning 13 of the last 17 games. This was a bizarre, unlikely game, but it exposed some truths for the Rockets they'd rather not face.

Ep. 98: Midseason Rockets Evaluation + Trade Deadline Chatter w/ Kelly Iko

Salman Ali (@RedNationHoops) and The Athletic's Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) evaluate the Rockets at the midseason mark and briefly preview the NBA trade deadline and Houston's possible targets.

Listen to The Red Nation Hoops Podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher.

Rockets 109, Bucks 116 - Not Close Enough

By Forrest Walker on January 9, 2019

The Milwaukee Bucks are at the top of the NBA standings for a reason. In tonight's loss to the Bucks, the Houston Rockets showed exactly why they aren't. It may have come down to the last few possessions, but when faced with the level of competition they'll need to beat to approach their expectations for the playoffs, Houston looked good but still not quite there yet. With as many losses now as they suffered all of last season, Houston still has a lot of gap to close.

Report: Rockets Trade Michael Carter-Williams to Chicago Bulls

By Matthew Cardenas on January 7, 2019
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According to reports, the Rockets have traded guard Michael Carter-Williams to the Chicago Bulls in return for a second round pick. The main reasoning behind this move is salary. Carter-Williams' contract would have become fully guaranteed if the Rockets did not move him today. This saves the Rockets of a tax hit.

Reports also indicate that Carter-Williams will be waived by the Bulls. The Rockets were his fifth stop overall and his fourth team in as many seasons. Carter-Williams was the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 2014. He appeared in 16 games for the Rockets and had not seen action since December 19.

Carter-Williams simply did not work out in Houston. While his ability to penetrate and kick out to the wings sometimes worked for him, that was all he really offered. His three-point shooting has been a liability for years and there were no real signs of improvement. However, one can credit him for hitting the 25th three-pointer for the Rockets against the Wizards, which set an NBA record.

This was a trade that had to be completed.

Expect to see the Rockets possibly convert Danuel House from his two-way contract, which is close to running out. He has been in the starting lineup and contributed greatly on both ends. House has scored in double figures in three of the last four games.

The Rockets currently sit at 22-16 and 5th in the Western Conference. They face off against the West-leading Denver Nuggets Monday night inside Toyota Center.

Rockets 135, Warriors 134 - The MVP

By Forrest Walker on January 3, 2019

James Harden is the Most Valuable Player. What else can be said about the all-time game he turned in against the Golden State Warriors? The list of signature moments, critical storylines and unbelievable play tonight is an entire article by itself. In fact, it's this article. It's time to go over exactly what James Harden did tonight in a Houston's thrilling overtime win over the Golden State Warriors.

Report: Multiple Rockets Take Home Awards For Month of December

By Matthew Cardenas on January 2, 2019
(photo credits - @HoustonRockets on Twitter)

The month of December was great to the Rockets. At one point early in the month a tough loss to the Dallas Mavericks had many seriously questioning this roster. The Rockets are 10-1 since that Luka Doncic takeover and finished 11-4 in the month of December. After being stuck at 14th in a loaded Western Conference, the Rockets are now 4th with a 21-15 record and are the talk of the league once again, only this time in a positive light.

Those around the Association took note of the Rockets' turnaround and rewarded them for it. Head coach Mike D'Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for the fourth time with the organization, a franchise record. He had to make some tough decisions that ended up being worthwhile such as who should receive more minutes after Chris Paul suffered a hamstring strain. D'Antoni has opted to give Danuel House more time and it has done wonders for the Rockets. Recently-signed Austin Rivers has also garnered the attention of D'Antoni.

James Harden has been the cornerstone for the Rockets since being traded to Houston in 2012. He seems to take his game to an even higher level every season, somehow outdoing himself when no one expects it. Harden's month of December was a historic one. He joined Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to score 400 points in a 10-game span. All of that results in a Player of the Month award for Harden, his sixth time winning the award (tying Hakeem Olajuwon) all coming with the Rockets.

To put all of it into better perspective, Harden scored 546 points total in the month of December. The next closest player was Paul George with 431, who is a legitimate MVP candidate this season. Harden would finish December with averages of 36.4 PPG, 7.9 APG and 5.9 RPG while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three.

With Paul going down, Harden took an even bigger offensive load and ran away with it, taking this Rockets team to new heights and getting them back on track after a disastrous 1-5 start and being 11-14 at one point. He has scored at least 30 points in the last 10 games and at least 40 in the last four. This valiant effort by Harden has caught everybody's attention and put him back in the MVP conversation, where he is confident in his chances to take the award home once again.
This run by Harden is one of the most historic stretches in NBA history. Many in the media have drawn the comparison to Kobe Bryant's play in January of 2006, where he averaged 43.4 PPG for the month. It certainly makes a lot of sense as both players took it upon themselves to have team success and did whatever it took.

The job is not close to finished for the Rockets. Even with sole possession of 4th in the Western Conference, the conference is so stacked that the standings change nightly. Their hot streak will need to continue in order to remain a top team and return to the Western Conference Finals. A rematch against the Golden State Warriors takes place Thursday night in Oracle, where both Eric Gordon and Chris Paul will be sidelined. Once the team is back to full health, there is no telling what levels the team could reach. But for now, Harden and D'Antoni are rewarded for their part in the Rockets' turnaround in December.