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James Harden.

Exploring what makes the Houston Rockets' offense so dangerous

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The Houston Rockets are the best team in the NBA this year, jumping out to an incredible 25-4 record through their first 29 games.

They've done it with a potent offense that is shooting threes at an incredible (and historic) rate, but they're not just one-trick ponies.

After adding Chris Paul in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason, the Rockets have only seen their offense get better, and despite sharing the workload at the point-guard position, James Harden has continued to play at an MVP level.

On Monday night, the Rockets proved why they have the most-dangerous offense in the NBA. A look at the box score reveals that they comfortably beat the Utah Jazz 120-99, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

With 9:49 left in the fourth quarter, the Rockets actually trailed Utah 91-83. However, they ended the game on an unbelievable 37-8 run, knocking down eight three-pointers in the process.

The Rockets are laying waste to their opponents this year, and outbursts like Monday night's will only continue to be the norm. Here are three reasons why Houston's offense is so explosive this season:

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns

It's impossible to guard all their shooters

The Rockets are averaging 43.2 three-point attempts per game - nine more than the second-place Brooklyn Nets - so it should come as no surprise that they have a lot of high-volume long-range specialists.

In fact, the Rockets have four of the NBA's top-20 three-point shooters in James Harden (first), Eric Gordon (fourth), Trevor Ariza (17th) and Ryan Anderson (19th).

If the Rockets need points in a hurry, they can put out a lineup of Harden, Gordon, Ariza and Anderson, with Chris Paul serving as the primary ball-handler and distributor. Though that lineup has some deficiencies defensively, it is impossible for other teams to guard.

Either you double-team Harden and let Paul pick you apart by finding the open shooter or you put one man on Harden and watch him make that defender look silly.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

Eric Gordon is the unsung hero

When the Rockets were trailing the Jazz 91-83 early in the fourth quarter on Monday night, Gordon single-handedly took over, making three-straight threes to give his team a 92-91 lead from which the Rockets never looked back.

Gordon made seven threes in the game, five of which came in the fourth-quarter run. After the game, Gordon said it was a lot of fun being on the court for that huge come-from-behind win (via ESPN.com):

"You're looking for it every time down the court," he said. "I think guys were looking for me and it was just a fun game in that fourth quarter."

Of course, Gordon gets a lot of open looks as defenses focus on stopping Harden and Paul, but he still manages to knock down his shots from long-range at a higher rate than most players. As we saw on Monday night, he can carry a team when he's hot, and that's good news for the Rockets moving forward.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

Clint Capela does the dirty work

The Rockets prefer to stand around the perimeter while Harden makes plays by driving into the lane and kicking it out to an open shooter (or knocking down a three himself), but that doesn't mean they just abandon their interior game.

That's where Clint Capela comes into the mix. On Monday night, Capela scored an impressive 24 points, but that's not what makes him most valuable to the Rockets.

He also had an incredible 20 rebounds, six of which were offensive boards. You can't give the Rockets second chances to score, but with Capela cleaning the glass on both ends of the floor, it makes the Houston offense even more difficult to stop.

Topics:
Chris Paul
L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
James Harden
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
NBA Playoffs

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