It’s a bad season for the Washington Wizards that still might have some silver lining. It’s a weird season for the Houston Rockets. And it’s a good but filled with down moments for the Oklahoma City Thunder. All three teams are hoping their recent wins, by quite the decisive fashion, mean that things are looking up for them.
The Rockets are back above .500 again at 34-33. They made the most of the Memphis Grizzlies missing most of their lineup again, as it seems they have more 10-day contract players than anything else right now. They seem quite safe with their 39-28 record when it comes to making the playoffs, but slides happen and there’s only so much they can do when Tony Allen is suddenly an integral part of the offense.
But this is about the Rockets, isn’t it? Blowouts often lead to some strange numbers. James Harden took just 8 shots, finishing with 15 points. He also had 8 assists, and he also turned the ball over 5 times. Playing 40 minutes or 25 minutes, some things never change. But the Rockets looked like they were having fun for once. With each other, not individually. Nine players scored in double figures, and seeing Donatas Motiejunas score 18 points had to be encouraging. Josh Smith didn’t play. And while this was something to smile about, they were playing something of a D-League team.
The Wizards probably have more to be optimistic about from their win, beating the Detroit Pistons 124-81. They’re still a few games out of the playoffs, but they’re going against the Bulls, who crumble whenever Jimmy Butler isn’t playing, and the Pistons, a team that shot 13% from beyond the arc again them in the loss, and are one of the glaring examples of inconsistency this season. Bradley Beal being back in the lineup and looking good, along with Nene actually giving a damn while leading them team with 20 points off the bench, are the headlines from this win, and what can carry this team to a strong finish and forget about the disappointing (so far) season.
And the Thunder? This is typical of them. They lose to the good teams, and then take it out on someone like the Portland Trail Blazers with a 128-94 win. Russell Westbrook was close to a triple double in the 16th minute, and in any case, finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists with only 28 minutes of basketball. Kevin Durant wasn’t shooting well but didn’t have to, and against a Blazers team that kept on missing, it wasn’t that difficult at all. It’s a nice confidence builder, but the question is whether or not the Thunder are smarting up for the more difficult collisions they have down the road.
Moral of the story? There is none. Three flawed teams made the most of their opponents weaknesses. While it’s also up to them, the Thunder are probably the only team you can say had more to do with the blowout than their opponent. They are a very good team, but their record against those above .600 this season and their continuous problems when games are close should serve as a reminder to not take this win over the Blazers as a sign of things to come against more difficult competition.