As of this morning ESPN’s BPI Playoff Odds has the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets both finishing the season with records of 49-33. The continued proven success of the Rockets isn’t a surprise since their last losing season was over a decade ago in 2005-06. That said, here are some observations on the team Miami faces Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
1 - Houston has only one starter under 30 years of age:
- Russell Westbrook (30)
- James Harden (30)
- Eric Gordon (30)
- P.J. Tucker (34)
- Clint Capela (25)
2 - The Rockets made more field goals close to the basket than other places on the court combined.
Inside of five feet they were are an efficient 119 of 177 (67%), while making only 92 of their 297 (31%) attempts outside of that area.
3 - Houston tops the NBA in made free throws.
They cashed in at the free throw line with a total of 132 points, which prorated per game accounted for 26 points of their league-leading 126 points a game.
4 - While the Rockets lead the NBA in scoring, they also give up the most points per game (127).
Notably opponents convert 44% of their attempts beyond the break (last in the NBA), since elder statesmen Harden, Westbrook, Gordon and Tucker serve as their primary perimeter defenders.
5- The Rockets defeated the Heat, 144-133, in their lone preseason contest.
Having a stable of skilled basketball professionals, the Rockets know how to win games in the NBA.
After defeating a youthful Atlanta Hawks team featuring athletic rookies and others, the Heat now go against an experienced group of elite players with a coach who’s one of the best in the business.