The Houston Rockets will resume their season in Orlando against the Dallas Mavericks Friday evening after a four-plus month hiatus.
Houston boasted a 40-24 record and was the sixth seed when the season was suspended back in March 11. Needless to say, the team has high expectations. Its best player is making that clear.
James Harden predicts Rockets will win the NBA title
“We’re bringing it back to H-Town,” Harden said, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve come up short these last few years, but this is an opportunity for us to fight for it, to get after it again. We have some grinding to do and some work to do, but the goal is to bring it back to H-Town.”
We have to give the MVP candidate credit for putting it out there. He was having a tremendous individual season prior to the halt in action during the spring. Unfortunately, the Rockets’ lack of success in the playoffs plays a role here.
Houston Rockets have struggled in playoffs with James Harden
2018-19 season: Houston had the Golden State Warriors where they wanted them in the Western Conference Semifinals last season. The series was tied at two. Kevin Durant went down to injury. From that point on, the Warriors took the final two games to eliminate the Rockets.
2017-18 season: The Rockets had a 3-1 lead against Golden State in the Western Conference Finals and opened up a huge lead in Game 5. They then went on to lose the final three games of the series by a combined 44 points.
Those are the two-most recent examples.
Pressure is on the Rockets to bring a title back to Houston
General manager Daryl Morey has made no bones about it. He expects Houston to come out of a difficult Western Conference and win the NBA title in Orlando.
That’s obviously easier said and done. As of right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are odds-on favorites to win the conference. They are joined by the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz as other teams experts believe are better than Houston.
Despite the Rockets’ struggles with consistency this season, they have something working in their favor. Harden can take over game in the blink of an eye. He has a fellow former NBA MVP in that of Russell Westbrook in the back court with him. Never count these two out.