Center/power forward Christian Wood calls the Houston Rockets' historically unprecedented seven-game winning streak "a little surprising," but he's adamant that the recent success is representative of the team's potential.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rockets are the only team in NBA history to have a losing streak of at least 15 games and a winning streak of at least seven games in the same season. They are the only team in any of the four major American sports leagues to have such a long winning streak immediately after snapping a losing streak of 15 or more games.
"A little surprising, but we've always believed," Wood told ESPN on Friday. "We've always stayed together and always had that team chemistry. We know that we're better than a 1-16 record and better than what we were showing. We never put our heads down. We just stayed together.
"I believe it's real. Especially with Jalen Green being out, which is a key piece, points that [would be] on the board that are not. We're still managing to win games. And with Kevin Porter Jr. out. I think we're even better than we're showing. We're just clicking."
Green, the No. 2 overall pick, hasn't played since straining a hamstring during the first half of the Nov. 24 victory that started the winning streak. Porter, Green's partner in the Rockets' regular starting backcourt, has missed the last two games after aggravating a thigh contusion.
Houston will try to extend the streak Friday night, when they play at home against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Rockets' run already features victories over the two teams currently above the Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings, the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.
Wood, 26, has been a dominant force during the streak, which started immediately after he shifted from power forward to center as coach Stephen Silas opted to play a smaller lineup.
Wood has averaged 18.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the seven-game run. Subtract the Dec. 1 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder -- when Wood had no points or rebounds in a nine-minute stint before exiting because of an ankle injury -- and he has averaged 21.3 points and 13.8 rebounds during the Rockets' remarkable turnaround.
"I can be an All-Star," said Wood, who has averaged 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds over the last two seasons with the Rockets. "I can compete with the best bigs in the league."