Rockets Notes: House, Gordon, Tucker, Westbrook

The Rockets will have to sort out their starting lineup and bench rotation due to recent additions and subtractions and coach Mike D’Antoni will do a lot of experimenting, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. The first order of business is to choose between forward Danuel House Jr. and guard Eric Gordon as the fifth starter in the team’s small-ball lineup. House started and played 19 minutes on Thursday against Golden State but Gordon was sidelined by a shin injury.

Gordon hopes that D’Antoni doesn’t waste too much time making up his mind.  “As a player, it’s a totally different mentality when you’re starting or coming off the bench,” he told Feigen. “We definitely have to get our roles set as we go on.”

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Golden State forward Draymond Green believes the Rockets’ small-ball look is working because of P.J. Tucker‘s unselfish play as a very undersized center, Feigen relays in another story. “They look good at it,” said Green, who has played a lot of center in small ball units with the Warriors. “And they have some guys that are good at it. It helps a lot having P.J. because he can anchor that lineup. If you throw another shooter, a guard out there, it’s not going to work. The person that makes it work is P.J.”
  • By trading center Clint Capela, the Rockets opened up more space for Westbrook to operate, as Kelly Iko of The Athletic details. Westbrook believes it has made a difference. “I just try to find ways to make an impact,” Westbrook said. “Obviously, with this style of playing, different guys on the floor have to be able to guard in a lot of space, which is to my advantage. See, internally, we don’t think it’s small ball. We just play our personnel and go compete, and that’s it.”
  • Westbrook becomes nearly as efficient a scorer as James Harden when there isn’t a true center on the floor, as Kelvin Pelton of ESPN details. His true shooting percentage in those lineups is the best in his entire career. Westbrook never developed pick-and-roll chemistry with Capela and he’s benefited from having help defenders pulled away from the basket since he’s surrounded by 3-point shooters, Pelton adds.
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22 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: House, Gordon, Tucker, Westbrook

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Such a joke they have lost just twice since early in the season with their usual rotation available. Those 3 losses to Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Miami back in October were when Westbrook was still working his way back into shape after his surgery during the offseason. But since then the Rockets have lost just twice (both times to Portland) when their regular rotation of 8 players is available.

      • amk3510

        Who cares they aren’t real title contenders. Their window closed in 2018.

      • arc89

        What do you think of Westbrooks immature break down Thursday. Even Harden couldn’t figure out what Westbrook was upset about. That is the problem with westbrook his emotions are bipolar and he can’t handle the pressure.

          • arc89

            westbrook is just getting harden’s left overs. Every team that plays Houston double teams harden and still westbrook is not benefiting from open looks.

      • arc89

        What do you think of Westbrooks immature break down Thursday. Even Harden couldn’t figure out what Westbrook was upset about. That is the problem with westbrook his emotions are bipolar and he can’t handle the pressure.

      • washington_bonercats

        With a name like that how could you be biased? I’m shocked!

      • claude raymond

        I think Westbrook has been the best I’ve ever seen him. I like his play more than Hardens. True that he’s too emotional but so is draymond who’s play I love.

        Problem with warriors game , imo, was up 35 with 6 minutes? Westbrook should not have been in there. And he should definitely not act that way in that situation. Looks like ur trying to pad stats

        • arc89

          I blame the coach for him being in there. no reason to have a starer in with little time left and up 30 points. that is time to get your back ups playing time.

          • claude raymond

            Obviously the coach is to blame for him being in. But the coach shouldn’t have to remind Westbrook of the score

  1. Otogar

    His true shooting percentage ranks 132 among guards. You can compare it for instance to Ben Simmons’ 24.

    • yanksknicks

      What about the last 15 or so games when he stopped bricking threes?

  2. harden-westbrook-mvps

    House is bigger than Gordon so it makes sense for him to remain in the starting lineup with Russ, Harden, RoCo, and Tucker. Teams almost always go smaller with their bench players, and they still have their new guys (Carroll and Jeff Green) to give them some size in their second unit.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      D’Antoni will be 69 soon, so he might consider retirement.

      • macdaddy96

        No, once the Rockets lose again in the playoffs, D’Antoni will be canned.

  3. x%sure

    I doubt Gordon should worry about the threat of starting. Houston should keep him and his twitchy style healthy… he requires a big change in keys & expectations from the defender, compared to clever Harden and fast Russ.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      It works better when he’s in the 2nd unit since D’Antoni likes to have two of his top three scorers in the game as much as possible.

  4. jiegar

    Regular season.. Works fine.
    Playoffs… Dont think so with westbrooke and hardens playoff shooting

    • arc89

      You are right. Playoffs are a different animal. What works in the regular season doesn’t work in the playoffs. you continue to adjust you lineups. Houston will need to rely on bad defense in the playoffs. Harden will not get the run into fouls so they will need great shooting or lose.

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