Harden 'We want to build on defense'
As the Rockets look forward to a tough week ahead of them, the focus is clearly on defense.
Currently, the Rockets sit second in the league in scoring, so they know the part to shore up is pretty much everything else.
"Obviously, we get out and score a lot of points," James Harden said. "But I think the identity that we want to build for ourselves is on defense. That's the only way we can get out in transition is to get stops. We just want to build our identity and become a great team defensively for the Rockets.
"It's not going to be easy," he continued. "Really, all the great teams took some time to really get on the same page. This is our first half of the season together, but I think we've done a pretty good job of really helping each other out and being on the same page for the most part."
In other words, the team feels they've made as a cohesive defensive unit, but they know they have a ways to go to improve.
"I'm not sure where we are, but I know where we need to be," Patrick Patterson said. "We need to be a lot better.
"We're going to have to trust ourselves a little bit more. We're going to have to help one another. There always has to be an extra man. We can't quit on any possession. We have to pretty much want to stop our man."
"The biggest breakdown in our defense is usually when we turn the ball over," Kevin McHale said. "There's no defense for a three-on-one. I mean, you practice that and on a three-on-one, they're going to score on you. So we've got to stop our turnovers, and if we can get our turnovers under control, we can get back. Our defense has been improving, slowly but surely."
And starting with the Warriors on Tuesday, this defense will be severely put to the test leading up to the All-Star break.