The Houston Rockets are 11-6 and 7-3 in the tough Western Conference. They look like a team filled with new blood, even though the biggest changes in Houston are from two of the most familiar faces in professional basketball: new head coach Mike D’Antoni and new point guard James Harden. Harden has taken his otherworldly game to new levels at the point, dishing like never before and maintaining his scoring clip. He’s been a joy to watch for the basketball purist.
Speaking of basketball purists, despite Mike D’Antoni’s purported emphasis on offense, he qualifies. The offensive mastermind has Houston doing what it needs to do to win games. Still middling on D, the Rockets rank 21st in the league in opponents points per game. But the thing is, Utah ranks first — and the Jazz are just 9-8. D’Antoni’s outscore ’em idea seems to be working. And he thinks the best is yet to come: ”I think they’re getting more comfortable with how we’re doing things,” D’Antoni said about his Rockets after a 130-114 win over Portland. “They’re moving the ball a little better. We can still do better.”