When the 2019-20 NBA regular season restarts on July 31, the Houston Rockets will be in sixth place in the Western Conference with an overall record of 40-24. The Rockets are tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder but Oklahoma holds the tiebreaker between the two. Houston holds a 1 ½-ame lead atop the Southwest Division over the Dallas Mavericks and is 22-10 on its home court and 18-14 on the road.
James Harden is the leading scorer and leader in assists for Houston with averages of 34.4 points and 7.4 assists per game. Harden’s scoring average of 34.4 points is No. 1 in the NBA. Russell Westbrook is the second leading scorer and leading rebounder for the Rockets with averages of 27.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. The Rockets have seven players averaging double-figures in scoring.
Houston has two of the most explosive offensive players in the NBA in Harden and Westbrook and at the trade deadline in February opted to go to a smaller lineup when they traded center Clint Capela in a transaction that involved three other teams and acquired Robert Covington from Minnesota. Shortly after acquiring Covington the Rockets won seven of their next nine including a streak of six straight victories. Houston wins and losses with its offense and should be well rested and not leg-weary when the season restarts.
Although the Rockets have a very solid offense with Harden and Westbrook leading the way, the Rockets defense often disappears at different points of the game. Houston is 22nd in the league in points allowed per game at 114.4 and is averaging just less than four points more per game at 118.1 on the offensive. That does not leave much margin for error in the course of a 48-minute NBA game. Injuries could be a big problem for Houston if either Harden or Westbrook cannot play as the two are averaging a combined 61.9 points per game or 52.4% of the Houston offense.
The Rockets are anxious to restart as James Harden is in excellent shape, Eric Gordon is fully recovered from his knee problems and Russell Westbrook looks to continue piling up triple-doubles. The Rockets will win the Southwest Division and although will likely not have home court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, Houston will make a deep run into the postseason but fall short in the semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers.