Pacers’ Nate McMillan thinks Rockets’ James Harden-Russell Wesbrook combo is ‘going to work’
After a 3-3 start to their 2019-20 NBA regular season campaign, the Houston Rockets are winners of five straight games and are currently tied with the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets for the second best record (8-3) in the Western Conference.
A big reason is the improved dynamic between superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who are slowly re-learning how to play off one another despite both being ball dominant guards.
The pair, who first played together with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2009-12, are still both getting their usual numbers. However, it’s still quite evident that they still need more time together to fully figure out how to co-exist on the floor.
Prior to the Rockets hosting of the Indiana Pacers on Friday, opposing coach Nate McMillan talked about his belief that the Harden-Westbrook combo will work in the long run.
“They’re two very talented players,” McMillan said, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
“They’ve been together before. Anytime you are going to have a player join a team like Westbrook, it takes time for those guys to figure out each other, even though they played together. It’s going to work. You got two guys out there that are a threat to put up big points every single night. It’s a challenge for your defense.”
Since joining the Rockets via trade in the offseason, Westbrook has done most of the adjusting, averaging 21.4 points on 45.3 percent shooting from the field and 22.4 percent from deep in his first 10 games in Houston.
His rebounding (8.0) and dime-dropping (6.9) took a hit, however, as it is now slightly below his triple-double average the last three seasons.
Harden, meanwhile, continues to electrify the league with his scoring, averaging a league-best 38.2 points per game on 41.3 shooting from the field and 31.8 from distance.