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Houston Rockets: Daily Rocket Science – Gimme A ‘D’

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Jan 7, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and guard Patrick Beverley (2) smile while playing against the Utah Jazz in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 103 to 94. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and guard Patrick Beverley (2) smile while playing against the Utah Jazz in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 103 to 94. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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With a third of the season in the books the Houston Rockets may well be the biggest disappointment of the season. If nothing else, they’ve proven they are the most inconsistent of the 30 NBA teams.

Adding fuel to the team’s issues Dwight Howard joined his front court teammate Donatas Motiejunas on the sidelines as they both deal with stiffness and soreness in their backs. The irony for the Rockets is it seems Houston tends to do better with more adversity and this recent rash of players out either due to injury, personal issues and suspensions has actually worked to the Rockets benefit as they’ve won their past two games.

Perhaps James Harden and company feel more at home with fewer available players as it reminds them of last season when they were winning in spite of having most of their core players out (especially early last season).

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

The reality though is the decline of the Rockets defense as many stories are focusing on both nationally and in social media. Space City Scoops own Joshua Van Horn has an excellent article today outlining the regression of the Rockets defense.

And, while many have pointed fingers at James Harden an interesting take on the situation comes courtesy of Harry Reardon at SK Basketball who places the blame squarely on Trevor Ariza’s shoulders in The Houston Rockets and the defensive decline of Trevor Ariza

". And this analysis is further supported by the numbers. Ariza averaged 8 defensive win shares (DWS) in his 2013-14, and 6.6 last year. But as of right now, he is on rate to only have a little more than 2 at the end of the season. Houston’s defensive weaknesses are because their perimeter players cannot stop anyone. But the fact is that all three Houston perimeter players – Ariza, Harden, and Patrick Beverley – are to blame for how the Rockets have fallen apart defensively. While Harden is viewed as the superstar, Houston’s defense should be fine if the other two, who are known as defense-first players, actually play defense"

Over at Red 94 Richard Li went even further saying the reason Houston did well last season was all luck in his article –The system is not broken, because it does not exist

"What if we alter the script a bit. Instead of defense just being about effort, what if there is innate ability involved? To me, it seems like James Harden is the dog from movie Up. He sees the guy he’s guarding, then he sees a squirrel, and then he wears the cone of shame. I think his basketball ADD is basically low basketball IQ. It’s that nebulous “awareness” rating in all the EA Sports games."

Another major story line yesterday was news Ty Lawson would join Dwight Howard on the sidelines, but not due to injury. Lawson picked up his second suspension of the season for his July DUI in California (also his second DUI last year).  SCS covered the suspension and used the opportunity to probe Lawson’s current status on the Rockets. Many other media outlets looked at the suspension with Yahoo and Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie  actually raising an interesting issue regarding Lawson’s rehab visit:

". Less than six months after that January incident, Lawson was arrested again on , this time while driving in Los Angeles. Three days later, he announced he planned to enter a private alcohol treatment program. ( ” his stay at Cliffside Malibu.) Five days after that, the in exchange for four players they’d later waive and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick suspicion of DUI He’d later tell Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski that he didn’t think he’d have gone had it not been court-ordered, but that he “did take things from Nuggets traded him to Houston"

More from Space City Scoop

And finally in our affiliate site Sir Charles in Charge a great round table article touched on a number of subjects but had one writer making a rather bold New Year’s Resolution for the Rockets:

"Make a New Year’s resolution that one player or team would have been wise to make heading into the new year: Rockets – Waive Caulfield: Ty Lawson"

That’s it for today’s Daily Rocket Science. Enjoy your Friday, Ben Casey we’ll be back with DRS on Monday.

Next: Join the Space City Scoop Writing Team

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our Space City Scoop Round Table Sessions to help you get through the season. Start your morning with SCS Daily Rocket Science  which offers an update of news on the Rockets around the National and Social Media sites and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

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