Streaking: Rockets take command early to extend winning streak to six games.
Houston Rockets first-year head coach Stephen Silas has been repeatably saying to his team over the last two weeks that he has wanted them to come out and be more aggressive in the first quarter of games. The Rockets have trailed in their last three games by an average of 8.6 points heading into the second quarter and failed to score over 30 points during that stretch.
On Monday night it seems as though the message finally got through as they put up 48 points in the first quarter to tie the previous high this season for points in a quarter set on Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Houston (10-9) used a 21-0 opening run and seven players scored in double figures on their way to victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder (8-11) 136-106 and have now won a season high six games in a row.
“The start of the game is something we have been focusing on and tonight it was our defense,” said coach Silas. “You can see the team coming together as far as our unselfish play and guys figuring out where other guys can be successful and the ball movement has been really, really good.”
Houston’s hot start to begin the game was largely due to their shooting from beyond the three-point line. They tied the NBA record for most three-pointers made in a quarter with 11 on their way to a franchise high 28 makes for the night. The Rockets were one three-pointer away from tying the NBA record of 29 made three-pointers in a game which was set by the Milwaukee Bucks in December but missed their final three attempts.
“I had no clue what was going on,” said Rockets center Demarcus Cousins who was unaware that they needed just one more made three-pointer to tie the NBA record. “Guys started screaming to shoot the ball at the end, so I fired up two long ones. Obviously, it wasn’t successful.”
The Rockets “W.O.W. Factor” which consists of John Wall, Victor Oladipo, and Christian Wood combined for 51 points on the night and was able to get some much-needed rest in the fourth quarter.
One reason the team has been so good over the last six games is partly due to their second unit which is anchored by Eric Gordon who led all scorers with 25 points. He is averaging 20 points during the winning streak and takes great pride in leading a unit that averages nearly 36 points a game coming off the bench.
"I want us to be the best second unit in the league," Gordon said after the game.
Houston will look to extend their winning streak on Wednesday against Oklahoma City before heading to Memphis to take on the red-hot Grizzles.