Scott Brooks shook his head in disbelief (figuratively) after hearing the Houston Rockets have surpassed the 50-threes-in-a-game threshold.
“I would have never guessed that there would be a team in my lifetime shoot 60 threes in a game,” said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who is presented by Greenberg and Bederman, to The Sports Junkies. “And they probably average 45 threes a game. Just, it’s crazy.”
The Rockets are shooting 36.5 percent as a team from beyond the arc while averaging 44.4 three-point attempts per game, 11 more attempts per game than the second-most three-point friendly NBA team (Brooklyn). This bomb-them-to-hell philosophy has helped the Rockets to the best record (17-4) in the Western Conference on a league-high plus-10.8 point differential per game.
The other night against the Nets, Houston attempted 50 threes, converting 40 percent. The Nets drained 10 of 39 three-point attempts (25.6 percent) in response. Goodnight, Brooklyn.
“They were 20-for-50 last night,” Jason Bishop informed the coach.
“Oh my gosh,” Brooks said in disbelief.
“How could you beat 20-for-50?” Bishop wondered.
“Coach, what would you do if your team jacked up 50 three-pointers in a game?” John Auville asked.
“Well, if you have a bunch of shooters and they’re making them, yeah,” Brooks said. “But Houston, I think they average like 45 a game. That’s unheard of.”
John-Paul Flaim noted Houston GM Daryl Morey instructing his club ahead of the 2017-18 season to cut their mid-range jump shots in half. “And apparently they have,” he said.
“Yeah. It’s all layups and threes and free-throw line,” said Brooks. “That’s all they do.”
“I mean, they’ve obviously got one of the best players that can attack, that can score, that can make a lot of easy plays for their teammates for open threes,” he said. “But yeah, they never — I think they lead the league in least amount of mid-range shots.”
James Harden has been the motor behind Houston’s potent offense. In his first year playing alongside Chris Paul, Harden’s building one heck of an MVP resume, leading the league in points (31.5) and assists (9.8) per game while averaging 5.2 rebounds.
As his coach in Oklahoma City, Brooks says he never quite imagined Harden as a future MVP candidate.
“When I coached him, he was young,” Brooks said. “I mean, he was an All-Star at that time but he didn’t make it. I thought the next year, if we would have had him, he would have made it.”
“He averaged I think 17, 18 points coming off the bench, but he played probably the fifth- or sixth-most minutes of the two-guard in that league,” he said. “So he wasn’t really a bench player. But he came off the bench, and he wanted to do that. He wanted to play with that second unit because he felt that that was the best way to make us a better team. I didn’t see MVP, but he definitely has produced and gotten developed, and he’s one of the best players in the league and he’s gonna be there for a long time.”
The Wizards host the Rockets Dec. 29. Should be a thriller.