After starting the season with three 20+ point losses, the Houston Rockets finally managed to get a victory Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 110-105. Now that they have their first win under their belt, the Rockets hope to rebound in both senses of the word.
As of now, there are only four teams with worse rebounding numbers than the Rockets. In their past two games the Rockets’ have pulled down 35 less boards than their opponents. Stretched thin at the power forward position with injuries to Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones, the Rockets must find a way to improve their rebounding situation.
Since Terrence Jones has been out with a cut to his eyelid, the Rockets have yet to put on the floor a lineup that features two big men. While I agree with the coaching staff that the best move was to insert Marcus Thornton into the starting lineup, and have Trevor Ariza play the four, I also think that coach Kevin McHale has to find some time for a lineup that features either Montrezl Harrell or Clint Capela next to Dwight Howard.
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The obvious problem with a bigger lineup is spacing. Because none of the Rockets uninjured big men have an outside shot the Rockets offense might run into problems. That being said, Jones’ shot is less than ideal, but the Rockes coaching staff manages to find minutes for him to play next to Howard.
With the early success of Harrell, I think he deserves to see some action next to Howard. If the Rockets can find some minutes for the two of them to play together they should be able to pull down more boards.
Hopefully Terrence Jones returns quickly, followed by a complete recovery of Donatas Motiejunas. The Rockets will be unable to wait on their injured power forwards, however, as their next two opponents, the Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings, both rank within the top ten in rebounds per game. After that things don’t get much easier as the Rockets finish off their week by facing the star-powered front court of the Los Angeles Clippers.
For the Rockets to go deep this season, they will need to find success rebounding the ball.
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