Harden: 'We have a real close bond already'
Wins are of moderate importance for most teams in the preseason, but piling them up is not a bad thing either. The Rockets moved to 4-1 with their 100-95 win over the Mavericks. It was a pretty good effort for the Rockets first game with all their rotation players healthy. (Well, maybe not all, Terrence Jones did not dress for the Mavericks game due to a right shoulder strain.)
Good enough for the Mavericks to take notice. Dallas Head coach Rick Carlisle said, “This is the best team we’ve seen in the preseason by far. This is going to be one of the top teams in the league."
“I was looking at their third team out there and they looked like a real NBA team. This is a very, very deep team,” Carlisle continued. "(Dwight) Howard and (Omer) Asik will play well together if they choose to play that lineup and they probably will at times, but they are very, very good and have a lot of weapons, a lot of spacers, a lot of drivers, and so they are going to be tough to play.”
He won’t have to wait long to see them again. Two of the four games between the Rockets and the Mavericks take place in the first 22 days of the season, including a meeting right here in Houston on Nov. 1.
Both new members of the Mavericks starting backcourt were also impressed with what they saw from Houston. Point guard Jose Calderon said, “It’s a big difference when you’ve got a guy like Dwight (Howard) on your team and it looks like they continue to play the same way. He’s an even a bigger threat than (Omer) Asik. They run up and down all the time and now they have a guy in the middle that’s even better. They are a very good team and they’ll be up there fighting at the top this year.”
Shooting guard Monta Ellis added, “They are pretty good. They have a lot of shooters, some big bodies down there and Dwight looks like he’s focused and motivated. They are a pretty good team.”
We’ll see if some of these compliments are repeated when these two teams meet for real in the regular season in less than two weeks.