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Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Salty Spurs, Pesky Pelicans

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The Houston Rockets gave me a great Christmas present, then they made me return it on boxing day.

It’s a very appropriate metaphor considering how the season has gone. “Hey here’s a really nice kitchen mixer!… On second thought – it’s too nice. Gimmie.”

The San Antonio Spurs can have their case made for being the best team in the NBA. Not only did the Rockets beat them, they held them to their lowest point total since Feb. 8 versus the Toronto Raptors. It felt like a “we’ve arrived” game after a tumultuous early season.

Then the very next day however, the bumbling New Orleans Pelicans come around to hold Houston scoreless in the final 2:14 after Anthony Davis‘ ridiculous ally-oop dunk to go ahead 110-108. All of a sudden, we’re back to square one.

Beat the number two seed.

Lose to the 15 seed.

Do you get it? I don’t. And good luck to anyone out there trying to figure it out.

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

By now most fans have already read/heard/tweeted about this. But for those of you who’ve been in the dark, J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t happy. After the Rockets lost to the Pelicans, Bickerstaff went on a rant that you normally don’t see from an interim coach. He was quoted as saying “we’ve disrespected the game” – something that could also be heard from an angry pimp. I can’t say I blame him – he’s just saying what we’re all thinking.

J.B. Bickerstaff on his Rockets: ‘We’ve disrespected the game’ [Yahoo Sports – Kelly Dwyer]

"The problem here is that this reaction was the correct one. The Rockets, who should be desperately trying to save their season, slept their way through too many possessions in the loss, and following the game Bickerstaff accurately went off."

This update has a couple of nice nuggets in it, from Dontanas Motiejunas‘ injury rehab to a D-League update and Marcus Thorton pouting. D-Mo’s return has been slow, as he’s only been taking four shots a game – way down from last years 10. But he’s been efficient, so surely his work load will get bigger and he’ll be more of a help. As for Thorton, he may have a case for his grumpiness. He’s the fourth leading scorer on the team and has been shooting very well from deep lately.

Rockets report: Motiejunas reflects on rehab [Houston Chronicle – Jonathan Feigen]

"He did not expect at the time the grueling process that he would face to get back on the floor, going out from that game March 25 until his return Dec. 5. Though he thought of the time lost beginning with his previous trip to New Orleans, he did not consider it a milestone to have returned."

Let’s harp on Clint Capela some more. Capela has been one of the more intriguing stories on the Rockets this season and has even garnered some early sixth man buzz – although that may go away now that he’s starting more games. Capela is an efficiency machine: posting a 20 PER (Top 30 in the league) and a 60 eFG percentage (Top 5 in the league). His usage rate isn’t high, yet – so we’ll see if those numbers go down as the minutes go up.

How Clint Capela Changed The Tone Of Rockets’ Season [Hoops Habit – Aaron Mah]

"He may stand tall and lanky at 6’11”, but the second-year big man has amazing agility for a man of his size — covering an insane amount of ground, as he’s one of the best bigs in the league in closing out on 3-point shooters while recovering quickly enough to protect the paint."

Are you bored on this terrible Monday? Here’s a video of James Harden being awesome to gage your interest:

Check out Harden’s plays of the week & then RT this for your All-Star vote! James Harden #NBAVotehttps://t.co/CtHQKJeAs2

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 28, 2015

Next: Pelicans Soar Past Houston Rockets in Loss: Player Grades

Remember that schedule? It doesn’t get any easier with the Atlanta Hawks coming to town tomorrow. Knowing the Rockets, they’ll beat down the Hawks, the Warriors and Spurs in a row then lose back-to-back games to the Jazz. Who knows?

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