The Rockets have needed a defensive spark since, well… since Luc Mbah a Moute went down with a shoulder injury in mid-December.
They may be getting that spark back soon.
After Houston’s 112-95 win over Phoenix on Friday night, Mike D’Antoni confirmed Mbah a Moute, as well as Tarik Black (right eye abrasion), will be game-time decisions for the Rockets’ matchup with the Clippers on Monday night.
It would be fitting for Mbah a Moute to return against the Clippers in Los Angeles, his former squad and NBA home of the past two seasons.
I’ll be honest — I didn’t expect a whole lot out of Mbah a Moute when the Rockets signed him, but he’s been a big reason for their defensive improvement this season. The Rockets were ranked 6th overall in the league in defensive rating before tanking after Mbah a Moute went down with the injury on December 13th. If you scan the most effective five-man defensive lineups among those logging 20 minutes together or more, Mbah a Moute is found in each of the Houston’s top four defensive lineups.