Red Nation Roundup: Exceptional Qualities and Fatal Flaws

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Six games into the NBA season, and the Rockets have already showcased their overwhelmingly exciting potential, but also their unsettling flaws that may ultimately sink them. This week, you saw one down to the wire win against Dallas, one tough, but encouraging loss to the defending champs, one fun little blowout win in Madison Square Garden, and one very concerning loss against Dwight Howard's new team, the Atlanta Hawks. The Rockets have been all over the place when it came to their play, and Red Nation Hoops is here to tell you about it.


Last Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks came in town for the Rockets' home opener. Although the Rockets could not start off any quarter in rhythm, they picked it up with their defense and solid scoring punches from Nene, Ryan Anderson, and of course, James Harden. Through the first three quarters, the Rockets built up a solid 10 point lead, but that lead went down the drain in a hurry. Dallas guard Wesley Matthews did a terrific job at contesting every Harden shot while giving him no room to operate. Fortunately this game, James' supporting cast came to play. A defensive showdown commenced, and the Rockets ended up on top with a last millisecond foul that would send James Harden to the free throw line. Of course, he missed the first one (for dramatic effect according to Ryan Anderson), and drained the second as the Rockets went on to win, 93-92. It's worth noting that although it looked like Harden was being locked down by Wesley Matthews, he still put up a 28 point, 7 assists, 7 rebound performance. That's just ridiculous to say the least.


Next, the Rockets kicked off their 5 game road trip in "The Land", visiting LeBron James and company. The Rockets put up a tremendous effort against the 2016 World Champions thanks to none other than Mr. James Harden.


At this point, it's fair to assume that he is not human.


With a 41 point, 15 assist, and 7 rebound stat line, you would think the Rockets would be able to muster up a win against anyone. Instead, the Cavaliers decided that they weren't going to miss. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron James put on an absolute clinic, combining for 75 points on 25/47 shooting. They were just too much. Little mistakes ended up costing big time. But Rockets fans should be excited about the fight they put up against arguably the best team in the league and the God-like production from the man with the beard.


On to Madison Square Garden. There is not much to say about this one; Houston dominated. It was fun to see how great the Rockets can be when everyone is playing well. Montrezl Harrell utilized his minutes as Nene sat out of this one, chalking up a solid 17-10 performance. Sam Dekker was Shaqtin' a Fool, but let's not talk about it. Other than that, James Harden put up another 15 assist game to go along with 30 points on 56% shooting. This guy might be good. Oh, and here's a video of his patented, disgusting euro step:


https://twitter.com/NBA_Skits/status/793999636646285312

 
After a three day rest, the Rockets looked like they were still asleep on Saturday night in Atlanta. Every actual and potential flaw was exposed and it was all-around disturbing. The Rockets committed 25 turnovers that led to 35 Hawk points, and that'll never win games. Ex-Rocket Dwight Howard feasted on the glass (14 rebounds) and put up 20 points. Capela looked too small to defend down low. Actually, the whole team was a mega turnstile. No defense was played. The only semi-good thing about last night's showing was James Harden's near triple double (30-9-12), and even that looked bad as he went cold with the rest of the team in the second half. The game was ugly, plain and simple.


Player of the Week: James Harden


This selection doesn't need to be explained, but it'll be explained anyway. Harden averaged 32 points and 12 assists this week, and now leads the league in PER. He's been so good, it's sickening. The strange narrative about James not passing the ball can just go away too; he leads the league in assists, folks. Point Beard has carried this team thus far, no matter if his teammates showed up to play or not. That's why he is the clear choice for the Red Nation Hoops' Player of the Week title.


The roller coaster seems to be continuing with its loops and sharp turns, but Red Nation should buckle up for the ride wholeheartedly, as this team has so much to offer in the coming days, weeks, and months. Now, here are some great reads that expand on key ideas of the week!




NBA Score: Houston Rockets Barely Beat Dallas Mavericks | Inquisitr 

Here is a nice, concise column summarizing the Rockets win in the American Airlines Center. The author compares each team's starting and bench units, while using various statistics and thoughts. Check it out!

Three things we’ve learned after the first week of Rockets basketball | The Dream Shake

This article by The Dream Shake is a short but fantastic read that points out three things that have been shown by the Rockets in the early stages of the season. Rotations, offensive stagnancy, and even Dwight Howard was covered in this column.

Rockets are competitive, but mistakes cost them in loss to Cavs | ESPN

Calvin Watkins' post-game summaries are always worth reading. Here is one of his many in-depth game analyses; this one is about the Rockets stiff battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Again, the effort that they put in is worth getting excited about.

James Harden's First Week at Point Guard | Hashtag Basketball

Point Beard is here to stay. This article by Hashtag Basketball studies and analyzes James Harden's point guard play through the first three games of the season, with some video evidence to show for it. It's an eye-opening column, and it'll further your appreciation for James Harden. Is this the year he wins MVP?

ROCKETS 118, KNICKS 99 – MADISON SQUARE HARDEN | Red Nation Hoops

I won't usually link you to our own articles, but this had to be done. Our own Taylor Pate and Jorge Flores come up with some of the best material in these columns, and I'm not just being biased. Here is a great summary of Wednesday night's blowout win against the Knickerbockers.

Houston Rockets reportedly offer Donatas Motiejunas multi-year contract | Space City Scoop

D-Mo? D-Mo! The Rockets have made their latest offer to forward Donatas Motiejunas, and we could not be happier. His post-up presence along with his solid defense is something the Rockets have been looking for, and this article gives you the details of the new contract offer.

Rockets lack sense of urgency in loss to Hawks | ESPN


This game in Atlanta brought back memories from last year that nobody ever wants to remember. Not just because of the presence of Dwight Howard, but because of the sloppy way that the Rockets played. Hopefully we do not see this version of the Rockets anymore this season... or ever.


Stay tuned for next week’s edition of the Red Nation Hoops Roundup!

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