Rockets Defy Expectations with Impressive Start to the Season
Turning the Tide
For the past three seasons, the Houston Rockets have been considered an easy win for most NBA teams. With the worst record in the league in both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, and only a slight improvement to the second-worst spot last season, the Rockets had reached their breaking point. Determined to turn their fortunes around, they entered this season with a clear goal – to win. And so far, they have succeeded.
A New Era
Under the guidance of new coach Ime Udoka and bolstered by the additions of free agents Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, the Rockets have quickly climbed to the No. 4 spot in the highly competitive Western Conference. Prior to this season, they hadn’t held a top-four seed in the West since August 14, 2020. Sunday’s victory over the defending champion Denver Nuggets further solidified their position and showcased their determination to stay at the top.
A Statement Win
The matchup against the Denver Nuggets was a significant test for the Rockets. Historically, they had struggled to defeat the Nuggets in games of consequence since January 2020. However, this is a different Rockets team. In what can be considered their most important game since the departure of James Harden, the Rockets emerged victorious with a score of 107-104.
It marked their sixth consecutive win after a slow start to the season, and it was the new faces on the team who led the charge. Fred VanVleet’s impressive 26-point performance propelled the Rockets, while Dillon Brooks spearheaded a tenacious defense that limited the Nuggets to their second-lowest scoring output of the season. Additionally, Alperen Sengun, who idolizes Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, contributed 23 points, eight rebounds, and five assists to secure the win.
A Promising Future
While it is still early to predict the Rockets’ final standing this season, one thing is clear – they are no longer the disorganized mess of a team that had given up on winning. With their current form, the Rockets have proven that they can compete against any opponent. Sunday’s victory over the defending champions serves as a testament to their newfound resilience and determination.