James Harden laughs off talk that Rockets took a step back this summer
Canada Goose Jackets James Harden was all smiles at Team USA’s practices this week, despite a busy summer for the Houston Rockets. Coming off a season in which the Rockets lead the NBA with 65 victories and pushed the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference finals, Houston was expected to bring back largely the same team for another shot at the now two time defending champions. Canada Goose Jackets
Canada Goose Outlet Things haven’t quite gone that way. Canada Goose Outlet
canada goose uk outlet Yes, Chris Paul and Clint Capela were re signed, as Houston locked up its top two free agents to long term deals. But Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute both key cogs to Houston’s success last season left in free buy canada goose jacket cheap agency, signing with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively. The players Houston signed canada goose coats to replace them Michael Carter Williams, James Ennis and, once he clears waivers Wednesday afternoon, Carmelo Anthony feel like either awkward fits for how the Rockets play, or simply not the same caliber of talent as Ariza and Mbah a Moute. canada goose uk outlet
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But when the question of whether Houston has taken a step back was posed to James Harden, the NBA’s reigning most valuable player, he didn’t hesitate: Absolutely not.
canada goose uk black friday “No. You can go back to articles and conversations and people said, ‘Me and Chris can’t play together.’ [Then] we were the number one [team] in the NBA,” Harden said with a laugh after Team USA practice last week. “Obviously, you can look at a roster Canada Goose Parka and look at different players and say that. But you canada goose store have to be on that court and you’ve Canada Goose Jackets got to be in the trenches and be in the war. canada goose uk black friday
canadian goose jacket “Eventually we will figure canadian goose jacket it out. We have enough leadership in that locker room canada goose and a great coaching staff to figure that out.” canadian goose jacket
canada goose black friday sale Whether the Rockets have taken a step back or not, it is obvious that if Houston is going to come anywhere near Canada Goose Outlet replicating the success it had last year, it’s going to have to do so in a different way. From the canada goose clearance first day of training camp last season https://www.canadagoosepark.com , the Rockets built their team around a switching defense that emphasized its ability to have anyone on the court guard anyone else at any time. canada goose black friday sale
canada goose clearance It was a defense specifically wired to try to stop the Warriors and, if Paul hadn’t blown out his hamstring in the final minute of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, or if the Rockets hadn’t missed 27 straight three pointers in Game 7, it might have accomplished its goal. canada goose clearance
But even if one could argue Ariza, now 33, has lost a step, or that Mbah a Moute could be a risk moving forward after dislocating his shoulder twice last season, replacing them won’t be easy. Ennis is the kind of piece of raw clay that Rockets Canada Goose sale Coach Mike D’Antoni has molded into an impact player in the past, but he’s canada goose black friday sale never come close to providing the kind of impact at either end as Ariza and Mbah a Moute have.
canada goose coats Anthony, on the other hand, is coming off a season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in which cheap Canada Goose he struggled to be a third option behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George precisely the kind of role he will be canada goose coats on sale playing in Houston. And, for all of his offensive gifts, Anthony has never been known as a defensive stopper. canada goose coats
Canada Goose online There is a method to Houston’s madness, though at least in the eyes of Eric Gordon, the other Rocket who was buy canada goose jacket part of Team USA’s mini camp last week. It all goes back to that Game 7, and specifically Houston’s inability to make anything from deep over the final three quarters of that game. Canada Goose online
buy canada goose jacket cheap If Houston had more of an offensive spark, things could have been a lot different. buy canada goose jacket cheap
canada goose “I still think we’re going to be a championship caliber team, for sure,” Gordon said. “We did lose two dynamic guys that are really good defenders for us [Ariza and Mbah a Moute], really versatile guys. [But we] brought in guys that are also versatile, but more on the offensive side. canada goose
Canada Goose sale “We’re still going to be really good. When you look at that Warriors series, we just needed a little bit more scoring a little bit. We just hit a couple more threes, it would’ve been different even with guys injured. So we’re still in good position.” Canada Goose sale
The counterpoint to that is when Houston did try to deploy an offensive first player in that Game 7 by playing Ryan Anderson in the third quarter, the Warriors promptly attacked him repeatedly, went on a quick 14 2 run and swung canada goose clearance sale the game decisively in their favor.
buy canada goose jacket Still, the Rockets deserve the benefit of the doubt after the season they had. The same goes for General Manager Daryl Morey, who always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. buy canada goose jacket
Canada Goose Online One thing Houston won’t be lacking in, however, is motivation. After the way the West finals played out with the Rockets, even without Paul, leading at halftime of both Games 6 and 7, before dropping both games canada goose deals Harden said he hasn’t been able to let it go. Canada Goose Online
cheap canada goose uk “That was a good feeling,” Harden said of winning the league’s MVP award, “but that feeling that I had in that Western Conference finals, with basically one half to go I need that feeling back. I’ll try to work my butt off, and mentally lock in as much as I can to get back to that feeling. cheap canada goose uk
canada goose store “Like, you are right there. You’re a half away, and then something, just a roadblock hits you and you have to find a way to get past that roadblock. We couldn’t get past that roadblock. It was just too tough. canada goose store
“We’ve got to get back there.”
uk canada goose outlet For the next nine months or so, the focus will be on whether the moves the Rockets made this summer will allow them to or whether Houston let its best chance at a title slip away this past season, done in by Paul’s balky hamstring and all those wayward three pointers. uk canada goose outlet
canada goose uk shop Just don’t expect Harden to agree with that assessment. canada goose uk shop
Canada Goose Coats On Sale “What we have right now is for sure good enough,” he said. “We have to realize nothing changes for us. You’ve got to realize: that was me and Chris’s first year together. Guys were asking, ‘Can they play together? How is that going to work?’ We made it work, and it was easy Canada Goose Coats On Sale.