Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Team leaders actually leading

Jan 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks with teammates during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks with teammates during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

It was inevitable that the win streak would come to a close, and sadly the Houston Rockets will now have to start a new win streak. Albeit fans were surely hoping for a better home effort given the Rockets were the rested team. It sure didn’t look that way in the 91-77 shellacking at the hands of the Cavaliers.

Now the Rockets must prepare for their next game this Sunday (January 17th) in Los Angeles versus the Lakers who’ll play the night prior in Utah. Let’s hope the Rockets have learned from their past mistakes of taking underlings (um Brooklyn and Denver anyone?) for granted.

As we take a look around the horn at news remember you have just today, Sunday and Monday to get your All-Star votes in for the starting line-ups.

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

Despite the improved play over the past few games, the Rockets have still much ground to make up. As of yesterday, many players on the roster are eligible to be traded. While I actually like the team how it is and hope that Morey doesn’t make any huge trades, it’s foolishness to believe that the potential does not exist (never rule anything out with Morey). Kelly Scaletta weighed in on who she thinks has the best chance of being dealt by the trade deadline, and the list started off with a bang by saying that Dwight Howard may not be around Houston for long.

Houston Rockets Most Likely to Be Traded Before the Deadline [Bleacher Report – Kelly Scaletta]

"They have little chance of beating the   in a seven-game series. They have an even slimmer chance of getting past the   or  , who seem to be on a collision course for a Western Conference Finals that will be a series for the ages. And even if the Rockets get to the second round, it’s hard to fathom them getting past it. Second, it appears that Howard is going to opt out of his contract this summer. And at that point, Houston will lose any trade collateral it has in him. Trading him now, at least, gives the Rockets something in return. Oklahoma City Thunder Golden State Warriors San Antonio Spurs"

Despite the fact that there are legitimate reasons why trading Dwight wouldn’t necessarily be a bad option, I strongly believe Houston would be better off keeping him. My fellow writer at Space City Scoop, Joshua Van Horn, made a wonderful argument on how Howard’s elevated play as of late is the primary reason for the elevated play of the team as a whole.

Dwight Howard is Key to Rockets’ Improvement [Space City Scoop – Joshua Van Horn]

"After Howard missed half of last season due to injury, and with Harden emerging as an MVP-level talent, it became clear that Harden deserved to be the primary weapon on offense. Since then, Howard has had to figure out how to score the ball at the same frequency he did most of his career without getting the same amount of touches in the post. In a sense, this has involved a slight reinvention of Howard’s game. Instead of getting the ball in the post as often, Howard is now finding ways to score off the ball."

More from Space City Scoop

As Joshua’s article discusses, James Harden’s leadership is paramount to the Rockets’ success. He isn’t the perfect leader yet, but the Beard has come a long way this season in that department. Calvin Watkins wrote for ESPN on five things Houston has done to improve as of late, and one of them is following Harden’s improved leadership. The Rockets are not even close to being a perfect team, but there have been signs of life that point to a promising future.

Harden said to have patience, and the Rockets have proved him right [ESPN – Calvin Watkins]

"“…There are a lot of tests I’ve been put through in these last three or four years, not a lot of people can get through. Me being a strong-minded individual that I am, being surrounded by some really good people, I just continue to work through it and fight through it and good things will happen.”"

While the Rockets lick their wounds from a lack luster showing that led to the loss versus Cleveland we’ll also stay tuned to see if Patrick Beverley who tweaked his ankle late in the game will be available to play Sunday.  If there is good to be taken from the loss perhaps it’s that the Rockets 5-game win streak keeps them above .500 (21-20) and hanging on to 7th in the west.

All-Star Third Round Update
All-Star Third Round Update /

Again, make sure to get your All-Star Game votes in as you’ve got until Monday January 18 at 11:59:59 pm EST to get them in. At the moment neither Harden or Howard are close to making the starting 5, though ‘the Beard’ has the better opportunity should Clutch City rally.

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.