60+ wins. The best record in the NBA. An MVP-worthy season. All that is missing is an NBA championship
Frankly, James Harden could no longer ask for more from the Houston Rockets. Why?
The Rockets have already clinched the best record in the entire NBA for the first time in franchise history with a 61-14 record with 7 games left on their schedule. They are the second-best scoring team in the league, averaging 113 points per games. James Harden is leading the league in scoring with a 30-point per game average on top of 8 assists per game- third in the league. He has the best point guard this season in Chris Paul and one of the leading candidates in the Sixth Man of the Year race in Eric Gordon. Of course, the Rockets are coached by one of the best offensive-minded coaches in the NBA in Mike D' Antoni whose system perfectly fits Harden's style.
There's absolutely no reason for Harden not to be able to lead the Rockets to their third NBA title this season. After all, they are a better team compared to last season.
If you look back at last season's playoffs, the Houston Rockets entered as the number 3 team in the Western Conference with a 55-27 record. They took out Harden's former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round only to lose against the San Antonio Spurs in the next round. In 11 games that the Rockets played, James Harden averaged 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists but he also averaged 5 turnovers per game. And who can ever forget that Manu Ginobili blocks on Harden?
Hopefully, James Harden has already learned his lessons.
This season, the Rockets have already achieved many great things but according to Mike D' Antoni, his players aren't happy with the amount of success that they are enjoying. They're on a 10-game winning streak right now but they don't really care. And frankly, that's a good sign if you ask D' Antoni because it means that the Rockets know that their job is not yet done until a championship has already been hoisted in Houston. For that to become a reality, the Rockets will need their utmost effort and consistency especially in the crucial stretches of the game because one of the worries of pundits is that Houston had a tendency to "choke" themselves in the latter moments of the game like they did last season. Hopefully, James Harden has already learned not to choke this time around.
Barring any major injuries between now and the playoffs, it's almost safe to say that the Houston Rockets are the team to beat, at least in the Western Conference. And barring any major upsets, it's almost sure that the Rockets are the team to face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference. Now, assuming that the Rockets somehow make it past the Warriors in the WCF, whoever they will be playing against in the NBA Finals will have their hands full because if the Rockets reach that far, it means that they've really improved, tremendously and all of that is because of their MVP, James Harden.