Eric Gordon 'Ready to Go' After COVID-19 Hiatus
2019-20 has marked perhaps the worst year of Eric Gordon's career, with Houston's shooting guard spending much of the season battling injuries and an inconsistent shooting stroke. But upon arriving in Orlando, it appears as though Gordon is ready to close the season in style.
"[Gordon] hasn't missed a rep, he looks good," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni told the media via Zoom on Sunday night. "Shooting the ball extremely well, looks strong physically, he's ready to go. That's a big bonus for us."
Gordon has missed 30 games in 2019-20, including a 22-game stretch in November and December after undergoing knee surgery. Gordon's health didn't necessarily improve after he returned to the floor on Jan. 29. The Indiana product battled a slate of shin and ankle injuries in January and February, with a 50-point night against Utah marking his only standout performance of the season. But after nearly five months of rest and training, Gordon believes his best play of the season will come in Orlando.
"I've been looking forward to this," Gordon said on Sunday. "I wanted to be healthy so I could be myself. For me, just to be able to focus on basketball and what we do, instead of doing rehab before practice. That means a lot."
Houston will need Gordon to deliver similar playoff performances to his play in 2018 and 2019 in order to reach the Finals. Gordon was the Rockets' best player in spurts in each of the last two playoffs, averaging 19 points per game in the 2018 Western Conference finals. Gordon scored at least 15 points in five of six games in the 2019 West semifinals.
Gordon and the Rockets enter the NBA's restart No. 6 in the West at 40–24. They will hold a trio of scrimmages beginning on July 24 before facing the Mavericks in their first regular-season game in Orlando. Tip-off against Dallas on July 31 is slated for 8 p.m. CT.