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Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: No more Nuggets please

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So… the Houston Rockets can’t beat the Denver Nuggets.

We all know the story line – at the beginning of the season this statement seemed asinine. The Rockets have a championship caliber roster and the Nuggets are fresh out of the lottery.

Yet here we stand. Houston is 0-2 against Denver this season with a -9 point differential. How in the world did we get here?

The Nuggets did get to play Houston in their greatest stage of turmoil, though no one is totally sure if that stage is actually over yet.

All we know is the Rockets are 5-1 in their last six games and certainly look better by the optics. Is it enough to snap this snafu against Denver? It wasn’t enough for Brooklyn… so who can be sure of anything anymore?

Houston needs to stay focused through this stretch of easy games – only three games left before the home showdown against the Los Angeles Clippers. As you’ll read through the articles below – it seems the Rockets may be hitting their stride after all.

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

J.B. Bickerstaff… are we sure he’s good? It’s way to early to tell, but it seems he’s pushing all the right buttons so far in his interim tenure. Not to take the words straight from the title here, but there’s simply no other way to describe it. Bickerstaff appears to be a competent NBA coach, but the real test for him lies after Christmas when the real teams start to show up: San Antonio, Golden State, Indiana, etc.

J. B. Bickerstaff is pushing the right buttons [The Dream Shake – Eric Nelson]

"J. B. just gave him some room, gave him some time on the court without Harden and made him realize, by sitting him, that if Lawson doesn’t get it together he’ll be playing for significantly less money next year, even with a new salary cap. I have more hope now that Lawson will find his place in the rotation."

Speaking more onto the changes Bickerstaff has made, Jonathan Feigen goes into more detail below. Patrick Beverley and Clint Capela’s presence in the starting lineup has been a huge surge for Houston’s play – not to mention it’s kept James Harden and Ty Lawson off the floor at the same time. Both play into team chemistry, which the Rockets were severely lacking on day one.

Rockets see potential as play, record improve [Houston Chronicle – Jonathan Feigen]

"At the same time, the defense has shown signs, holding opponents to 40 percent or worse shooting in the fourth quarter in five of the past six games, all wins. The Rockets also have done a better job of turning defense into offense, especially Saturday, when they scored a season-high 35 fast-break points."

Terrence Jones – not on the move? Maybe better worded, shouldn’t be one to move says this writer. I normally take what small blogs say with a grain of salt, but this is a data-driven piece and I’m a sucker for data. The numbers say Jones is too valuable to the operation for him to be used as a trade chip, and I couldn’t agree more.

Rockets Would be Wise to Keep Terrence Jones [Today’s Fast Break – Dave Leonardis]

"At the same time, the defense has shown signs, holding opponents to 40 percent or worse shooting in the fourth quarter in five of the past six games, all wins. The Rockets also have done a better job of turning defense into offense, especially Saturday, when they scored a season-high 35 fast-break points."

Turns out the crowd wasn’t the only one chanting Kobe Bryant’s name on Saturday. James Harden admitted he too was chanting Kobe’s name, and why wouldn’t he? As a two guard growing up in California, who do you think he idolized as a kid? This won’t be the last time we hear about this too, as Mamba’s farewell tour still has a long way to go.

Chanting for Kobe: ‘I Was Chanting His Name Too’ [Slam Online – Slam Staff]

Harden on if it was weird for Houston crowd to chant Kobe’s name: “No, he’s a legend. This is his last year. I was chanting his name too.”

— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) December 13, 2015

Next: NBA Power Ranking Week 6 - Southwest Adjustment

If the Rockets beat the Nuggets tonight, it will give me some relief to think the period of tire fire is dying down in Houston finally. If not, then I still have no idea what’s going on. Sorry if that’s lazy analysis, but after all, it is Monday.

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