Houston players frustrated there’s too much emphasis on offense over defense
Under head coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced style, the Houston Rockets are viewed as one of the more dangerous teams in the NBA on the offensive end of the floor, especially now that Russell Westbrook has reunited with James Harden. Scoring is important in this league, and it will win a lot of games. However, some Rockets players are reportedly frustrated with the fact that this emphasis on offense outweighs the significance of defense.
Sam Amick touched on this issue in his recent article for The Athletic:
This dynamic group has spent much of these past few seasons trying to master the art of balance, with a James Harden/Mike D’Antoni-led offense that has been historically good and a Jekyll and Hyde defense that is succumbing to its inner demons at the moment. After a rocky summer in which their prickly inner dynamics were revealed to the outside world and certainly played a part in the Westbrook move, sources say that a familiar debate – how much they focus on offense vs. the need to take more of a prideful approach to defense – has been a point of early frustration among the players yet again and a topic of great focus.
The Rockets can light up the scoreboard, as made evident in their 159-158 victory over the Washington Wizards last week. However, their 113.6 defensive rating currently ranks 28th in the NBA. Furthermore, Houston is ranked 25th in points allowed in the paint with 52.3 per game. As for steals and blocks per game, the Rockets are near the middle of the pack (tied for 17th in blocks, 14th in steals).
The stat that most will notice is opponent points allowed. Houston, giving up 123.1 per game, is ranked 29th in the league.
To be fair, the Rockets are known to be more of an offensive team under D’Antoni. They’re holding a 4-3 record through their first seven games of this season, but it would likely serve them well to pay more attention on the defensive end of the floor.
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