The Houston Rockets are looking to get defensive against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Houston gives up the second most points per game (104.3) in the NBA, but they are still eighth in point differential, because they are tops in the league in points per game (108.7).
Rebounding is the place where they Rockets feel they can get better and must stay focused because they are tops in the western conference in field goal percentage allowed at 41.8 percent. The problem has been keeping team off of the offensive glass.
There is only one team in the league allowing their opponents 13 or more offensive rebounds per game. It’s Houston and they are allowing 14.1 offensive rebounds per game.
Dwight Howard is the just behind Kevin Love as the league’s leading rebounder and knows they have to get better there.
“It’s not about scoring, it’s about defending,” Howard said. “Scoring is secondary to me. I want to make sure on the defensive end we’re doing the right things and that should be the focus.”
Getting defensive rebounds are the things he’s talking about and that’s what had them falling behind early against Memphis on Monday night. The Grizzlies grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter, which led to 12 second chance points and ultimately had Memphis leading the game until midway through the fourth quarter when the Rockets reserves helped win the game.
“For us getting wins, we need to get stops,” Pat Beverley said. “You could tell how the game was going we weren’t playing our style of basketball. Shots weren’t falling but coach made some great adjustments and finally found a group that worked and we fought and that showed the character of this team.”
They out rebounded Memphis, 24-10 in the second half and Memphis is one of the league’s better rebounding teams. The Hawks are not, Atlanta ranks 26th in rebounding percentage. All ten of the Rockets wins have come when they have out rebounded their opponents. They are 10-1 in such games. They have not won the rebounding battle four times, they are winless in those four games.
NOTES: Rockets' James Harden is a game-time decision (sore foot)…Rockets are 4-1 vs east, Hawks are 1-3 vs west. Hawks lost their last games, both at home, including Tuesday night’s blowout 109-92 loss to Orlando. Rockets (10-5) are one of 11 western conference teams at .500 or better. Hawks (8-7) are one of just three eastern conference teams at .500 or better.