While James Harden has taken the spotlight over the past few months — lifting the Rockets from mediocrity to title contention once again — Clint Capela has put on a string of impressive performances as well. The Swiss big man, in fact, has been a monster on the boards for Houston.
On Thursday's showdown against the Warriors, Capela had his third 20-point, 20-rebound outing of the season. He finished the game with 29 points and 23 rebounds to help the Rockets upset the Dubs at Oracle Arena.
In Houston's last 12 matches, a run that saw them win 11, Capela averaged 14.8 rebounds. To put that in a better perspective, only Anthony Davis and DeAndre Jordan have corralled more boards over the same stretch.
Capela admitted he was inspired by Harden's recent performances, and the 24-year-old big man emphasized that the reigning NBA MVP pushed him to bring his game to the next level.
“To me, it gives you such much more energy when I see my teammate every single day next to me with that much effort, every single night, go that hard,” Capela told Jonathan Feigen of Houston Chronicle. “I'm like, ‘OK, I got to do it, too.' He's so special. To me, I feel like, because of him I got to the next level, too. To see a guy like that every day go that hard gives me so much energy.”
“Sometimes, I get so many rebounds, I don't even recognize myself. But when I see a guy like that giving so much, I got to give as much as I can, also.”
It remains to be seen if Capela can keep up his production on the glass, especially now that their upcoming games are against teams with quality big men. They take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, with Jusuf Nurkic waiting to face Capela.
After that, Houston hosts the Denver Nuggets led by Nikola Jokic, one of the best centers in the league today.
Capela has undoubtedly been a key player for the Rockets, and it certainly helps in his development that he is playing alongside Harden.