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Mike D’Antoni says Rockets ‘should be powerful as hell’ once Eric Gordon returns

Mike D'Antoni, Eric Gordon

Houston Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon is “closer” to returning to the lineup, according to head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Gordon is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. D’Antoni says Houston “should be powerful as hell” on offense once Gordon returns.

“Obviously, we’ll have to figure some things out,” D’Antoni told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “There will be a little bit of an adjustment. But Eric is one of our main players. If we can get him, the first group would benefit at the end of games and stuff of that sort, but 30 minutes of really good basketball. The second group should be a lot better.

“We’re playing a lot better. Russell (Westbrook) is playing better. This is our normal. And I think Eric coming back, if he can get to the levels he plays at it, we should be powerful as hell.”

Gordon had been dealing with knee discomfort since the middle of last season. The timing of the surgery was bad for Gordon, who had his best game of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans before the MRI showed the debris in his knee. Gordon scored a season-high 17 points while shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc versus New Orleans on Nov. 11.

Gordon signed an extension with the Rockets this past summer. He’s averaging 10.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game this season while shooting 30.9 percent overall, 28.4 percent from the 3-point line and 64.3 percent from the charity stripe.

Maybe Gordon will come back a better player after the surgery. The discomfort may have played a role in his early season struggles.

The Rockets are 21-9 on the season, good for third place in the Western Conference standings.