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Mike D’Antoni says integrating Chris Paul working better than wildest dreams

Chris Paul, Mike D'Antoni

Chris Paul’s incorporation into the Houston Rockets has been as seamless as fans have hoped for, but if you ask head coach Mike D’Antoni, his integration into this culture has worked better than his wildest dreams.

Take a pure passing point guard, who’s known to become a lethal fourth-quarter scorer when it counts the most, and pair it with a scoring machine that’s fallen short twice of the MVP award: chances are there’s some adjusting to make between the two alphas.

Yet the Rockets have gone an undefeated 8-0 with Paul and Harden on the court, a mark hard to fathom for this 18-4 team that has clicked on all cylinders after a wild offseason of big moves.

 “I knew that Chris and (shooting guard) Eric (Gordon), or James and Eric, in the time that they’re together, would arguably be one of the best backcourts in the league – Eric is that good,” D’Antoni said, according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports. “And so, we start with that. And then it’s, ‘Ok, when they’re not on, it’s James and Chris. Can they do it?’”

James and Paul have found not only a way to coexist on the court together but to make the most of their talents, aided by the defensive prowess of newcomers P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute — making this group and three-and-D delight for D’Antoni.

“It’s been seamless, (even though) I thought there might be some bumps. But because of their willingness, and their knowledge of the game and their willingness to share the ball, and Chris and James both willing to be the sidekick for a play or two, then it’s worked out quicker than expected…. It’s worked out better than our wildest dreams.”

The Rockets have won seven straight games heading into Thursday’s game against the Utah Jazz, looking to extend their season-high streak with the help of their All-Star backcourt.