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Eric Gordon says Rockets must play good defense to be a championship-caliber team

Eric Gordon, Rockets

The Houston Rockets bounced back from a questionable defensive performance during a streak-snapping loss to the Golden State Warriors with a superb effort in a 117-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Eric Gordon, who was inspired by the effort on Sunday night, noted his team must keep up this defensive effort until the playoffs start as a means to keeping good habits.

“If we want to be a championship caliber team, we got to play good defense and we got to play good defense so when we get into the playoffs, it’s just natural,” said Gordon, according to Salman Ali of ESPN 975 Radio.

Teammate Chris Paul chimed in on what sparked the team’s defensive improvement.

“I think us being healthy has a lot to do with it,” said Paul. “I think we also just understand the importance in everybody learning our scheme. We’ve had so many guys in and out (of the rotation) to get some type of synergy.”

The Rockets have indeed had just about every member of the team out of the rotation at some point due to injuries, ranging from Paul himself to Clint Capela and others. Houston has also added several players throughout the season in Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried, Iman Shumpert, and even Danuel House Jr., who first played out his 45 days as a two-way option, only to later sign for the remainder of the season.

Things are beginning to click for the Rockets, now holding the third spot in the Western Conference and only three games behind the Denver Nuggets for the second spot.