Houston TX,— The Houston Rockets eventually would have to start making shots. Sunday night the Rockets came out hitting on all cylinders. James Harden was looking like his MVP form, while Chris Paul played like the best point guard in the league.
James Harden scored 40 points going 8-18 from the 3-point line. Chris Paul added 26 points going 5-8 from the 3-point line. The Rockets finally found their offense and looked like a much better team than the one that dropped games to Oklahoma City and San Antonio in the last few days. A 76-point first half was impressive, but the Rockets scored just 13 points in the first quarter.
However, something was missing in their 115-103 victory over the Pacers. Carmelo Anthony missed his second consecutive game with illness. His absence came at the same time several reports about his status on the team were flying around.
Houston is rumored to be moving on from Carmelo only after 10 games into a regular season in which both Anthony and the Rockets were still working to find a grip. Houston coach Mike D’Antoni plans to move rookie Gary Clark into more prominent role in the rotation, which would seize Anthony’s minutes. Anthony will remain away from the team for his third straight game Tuesday night in Denver —with what the organization is calling an illness.
The Carmelo saga surrounding the Rockets isn’t the team’s biggest problem. The shooting slumps, defensive inconsistency and on going problem with injuries. Sunday night was a step in the right direction for as the Rockets confidence heading into Tuesday night matchup with the Denver Nuggets.
The 5-7 record hasn’t done enough of that this season, so this week is the key for a team searching for answers. Injuries to several key players and Paul’s early suspension, the Rockets failed to get rotations set. Carmelo is taking alot of criticism that is unfair, because the Rockets as a whole just haven’t been the team they set out to be.
“Our problem is we can’t shoot the basketball,” D’Antoni said before the game on Sunday. “We’ve got to fix that. Anthony’s teammates didn’t respond to the rumors, and reiterated that he isn’t the Rockets problem.
As the Rockets deal with the Anthony situation, they head into an important week. Games against Denver (on the road on Tuesday), Golden State (at home on Thursday) and Sacramento (at home on Saturday) are the end of a stretch of seven straight games against teams that currently have winning records. They're 2-2 on that stretch so far and may have found their offense in their win over Indiana on Sunday