The Houston Rockets brought in Victor Oladipo after they were forced to trade away James Harden. They expanded the trade to four teams to ensure they could get the two-time All-Star. And since his arrival, he has been proving he was worth the effort.
Tonight, he led the Rockets to a win over conference rivals, Trail Blazers. He scored 25 points, which included a clutch layup towards the end. During the post-game interview, Oladipo spoke about how people have given up on him in the past.
He said, “It’s unfortunate, going through my career, it just feels like people keep quitting on me, but it’s a part of life and I embrace it. I’m just trying to make the most of every day, and I give God the glory for the ability to play this game. Every day I fight a battle with myself with the small things. But at the end of the day, it’s basketball. I come out here and compete and give what I got every day, every night.”
Can Victor Oladipo lead the playoff surge for the Rockets?
With tonight’s win, the Rockets are now up to 8-9 for the season. They are still 12th in the standings, despite being on a four-game winning streak. This is arguably the most competitive the Western Conference has been in a while, so the Rockets will have to fight hard to grab a playoff spot.
But they are doing their best. Since the James Harden trade, the Rockets have improved massively on defense. They rank #1 in defensive rating since that trade and will be hoping to continue this effort.
Oladipo is a former All-Defensive team member, and his two-way effort has been key to their success. While Harden was way more gifted offensively, he is nowhere near Oladipo when it comes to defense.
The Rockets now have a few more winnable games up next, and they will be keen to continue this momentum. They are back on the road to face the Pelicans next, before playing the Thunder twice.
This road trip ends with a visit to the Grizzlies, and four wins here will help them to climb up the conference standings. It is an uphill climb for the playoffs, but Oladipo and co are ready to fight.
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