Here’s a question – Houston Rockets… are we sure they’re good?
Yesterday I proposed a possible explanation as to why the Rockets struggled with the Denver Nuggets – Houston was still in their “period of turmoil” that got Kevin McHale fired and put Khloe Kardashian on blast. I thought it was over – and once again I was wrong.
I don’t know if this dark ages for Houston are over or if the Nuggets just had Houston’s number in 2015. There is one silver lining to this depressing result – the Rockets won’t see the Nuggets again this season. Denver swept Houston this season… take it for what it’s worth.
But the NBA is a marathon, not a race. The short term may be depressing but it’s more important to keep your eye on the big picture: Houston is 5-2 in their nine game easy stretch. The Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers are the only games left before the Los Angeles Clippers come to town, and ideally the Rockets are 14-13 before the tougher stretch.
I don’t know if that’s supposed to inspire confidence or be call for survival, but Houston’s got to win the easy ones because they haven’t proven they can beat the difficult ones. The waters are still murky, and that’s never good in December.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
One obvious thing missing for Monday night’s game was Clint Capela. Terrence Jones started in his place and came up mini-me small – playing 13 minutes and posting a goose egg in the points column. If you read yesterday’s DRS you’d know how important Capela has been to the “resurgence” under J.B. Bickerstaff. It’s very important the Swiss phenom stay healthy or dropping more dumb games could be a reality.
"The Rockets’ are outscoring opponents by 10.2 points per 100 possessions with Capela and Howard on the floor, the best net rating of the team’s 50 most-used tandems and one of only a dozen positive ratings in the group. The only other duos coming close to Capela-Howard also feature Capela (Capela-Trevor Ariza and Capela-Marcus Thornton)"
This article couldn’t have been more appropriate today. The title says it all – we don’t know who or what the hell this team is 25 games into the season. No one knows what team will show up what night – and there is no rhyme or reason as to how it works. At this point it seems too many things have to be working correctly for the Rockets to win a single game, and consistency isn’t a strong point in Houston right now.
"While the season is long and any number of things may develop to unsettle the Rockets’ recent strong play, the most important missing link appears to be back in place for this squad, and that is an aggressive James Harden."
So this is something neat – last night was the first time two coach’s sons faced off against each other as coaches. As previously documented J.B. Bickerstaff’s dad, Bernie, was a long time coach in the NBA. Nuggets coach Michael Malone is also from lineage, his dad Brendan is a current assistant with the Detroit Pistons. For a league that’s been around for a long time, it’s pretty hard to believe this is the first time this has ever happened.
"“It’s tough because there’s only 30 jobs and guys hold on to their jobs,” Bickerstaff said. “There are not that many openings, not that many opportunities. The chances of myself and Mike are difficult anyway. Being in this situation, I think it’s fun. He and I have a good relationship and a good understanding of things we’ve been through. But at the end of the day, we need to win a game.”"
It was nice to finally see Donatas Motiejunas back in playing shape, and while last night his contributions weren’t enough to win – in the long run it will be better for the Rockets to have him around.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 15, 2015
The Kings are up next tonight and the Rockets beat them handily during their lowest point of the season. But that was a Boogie-less Sacramento and it’ll take all of Capela and Dwight Howard to keep him at bay. In short, it’ll be a fun game tonight – and a must win too.