Houston Rockets: Austin Rivers says defense is key to team’s title hopes
/ Rockets

By Tevin Williams

The Houston Rockets have played great defense since the All-Star break, leading to more wins. Austin Rivers says that a sustained defensive effort is the key to winning a title.

After the Houston Rockets finished seventh in the league in defensive rating last season, they took a massive step back in the first half of this season. They fell back into their habits from past years, putting all of their energy on offense because they couldn’t rely on their defense to get crucial stops. But Houston has turned it around since the All-Star break.

The Houston Rockets are 15-4 since the break, the best record in the league. They have defeated the Warriors, Nuggets, Raptors, Celtics and 76ers in that span. A big part of Houston’s recent success has been their defensive effort. The Rockets have the second best defensive rating in the NBA since Feb. 21.

Houston’s switch everything defense has really disrupted their opponents’ offensive scheme in recent weeks. The Rockets have ranked first in steals and fifth in opponent’s 3-point percentage since the break.

Chris Paul and James Harden have done an outstanding job in the passing lanes to force turnovers and Houston as a team has really made an effort to contest 3-point shots. Of course, the Rockets shoot and make more 3s than any other team and have made 5.6 more 3-pointers per game than their opponents since the break. With such a huge advantage from behind the arc, its easy to see why the Rockets have had so much...

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