Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The defensive end has been a struggle for the Houston Rockets of late. Before Tuesday night, in the Rockets past 11 games they’ve given up 113.4 points a game, the second-most in the league.
Tuesday night the Rockets exercised all of their defensive demons as they beat the Sacramento Kings 105-83.
“That was the emphasis,” James Harden said. “We were struggling defensively, so we wanted to get back to it, we wanted to get back to helping each other out, pressuring the basketball, and just doing our basics.”
While the Rockets didn’t force many turnovers, they did force the Kings into a lot of poor shots.
The paint which has been something of a concern for the Rockets was pretty much shut down as they turned the Kings into jump shooters.
“I thought our players played really well,” Mike D’Antoni said. “Especially the third quarter, the second group came in and gave up two points with six minutes, defensively they played real well.”
With the defense on display Tuesday night, they were able to survive an off night shooting wise by James Harden. On the night he finished with 10 points on 3-9 shooting, and yet the team was still able to win.
“(Harden) is our best player, he is the MVP, he is the catalyst to everything we have, but there are nights when we can move the ball, we can step up,” Ryan Anderson said. “We have guys that can score and he know’s that.”
Offensively Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon were able to pick Harden up as the two combined for 42 points.
While Harden after the game was happy with the help offensively, he was happier the team brought it defensively.
“Defensively I think it was more important because we got stops, even though early our shots didn’t fall, we just stuck with it,” Harden said. “There’s going to be games like that where we don’t shoot the ball well, but if we continue to focus on our defense we’ll always give ourselves a chance.”