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Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Ball of Confusion

Jan 29, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) leaves the floor after being called for a second technical foul in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) leaves the floor after being called for a second technical foul in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
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Everything was good about a week ago!

Josh Smith made his triumphant return to Houston once he realized Hollywood isn’t for everyone. Trevor Ariza had arguably his greatest scoring stint of his career averaging 26.3 points, while he shot 58.5 percent from the field. In addition to Ariza and Smith, James Harden showcased his all-around skills, which included a 23 point, 15 rebound, 10 assist game in the 115-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Aside from the great individual performances, the Houston Rockets were on a three game winning streak climbing the seeding in the Western Conference. Sadly, the Rockets good time came to an end too soon.

After losing to the Golden State Warriors in their worst lost since 2012, the San Antonio Spurs took their anger out on the Rockets demolishing them by 31 points. Then, for the first time in almost a year Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Rockets (ending a 5 game losing streak to the them). And, the Washington Wizards followed up a players only meeting by  ending their own  three game skid to Houston.

In a blink of an eye, the Rockets are now on another three game losing streak, and are back at .500 with a 25-25 record. The confusion of the season continues for Houston.

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

Speaking of their loss against the Wizards, the Rockets are voicing their frustrations with the league’s awful officiating over the past two games. Particularly, the lack of respect they have shown to their all-star center Dwight Howard.

According to Calvin Watkins of ESPN, Watkins reported that the Rockets have petitioned the NBA to revoke their four technical fouls given to Howard over the last two games.

"“The Rockets were displeased with the officiating Saturday night, even prompting interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff to draw a technical foul. He ripped the officials afterward, saying they should be held accountable for their actions. Bickerstaff said the officials need to protect Howard and called some of the actions from the Wizards dirty.”"

Howard was ejected for the second time Saturday after he received his second technical foul during a physical altercation with Wizards’ forward Nene, late in the fourth quarter. While there is a chance that this technical will not be taken away, the one he received in the second quarter has the best possibility of rescinded.

Washington’s forward Jared Dudley jumped all over Howard’s neck and shoulders in an attempt to foul. When Howard tried to voice his frustration using a demonstration, the officials gave him a pointless technical foul. Like Watkins said in his article, since both players were smiling during the demonstration of Dudley’s foul, the league may take away this technical from D12.

With Howard’s unfortunate calls over the last two games, he tied with Blake Griffin (12) for the most technicals this season. The back to back evictions put Dwight Howard squarely in the spotlight, and for all the H-Town Superman fans good news arouse out of all this attention.

Since news spread about his unhappiness, Howard has been linked to almost every trade rumor in the association. Although D12’s career in Houston will remain a mystery as the offseason approaches, trading Howard this season is an ultimate no no. According to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, he reported that the Rockets are not looking into any Dwight Howard trades as the NBA deadline approaches. So any team that had any interest in trading for an all-star center, need to search elsewhere.

"“He’s still a good player, and winning a playoff series isn’t nothing. It might fall short of Houston’s original dreams, but the way the season started, it wouldn’t be half bad. Plus, keeping Howard would show future stars considering the Rockets that they take care of their own. Keeping Howard and finding a solution later is the safe route – and apparently the likely one.”"

Unless Morey can work out a trade for DeMarcus Cousins, or Blake Griffin, the Rockets are not going to trade Howard for anyone. Even at 30-years old and the injuries that has plagued him over the years, Howard is still ranks among top 3 at this position.

Before he suffered an ankle injury against the Pistons, Howard looked like the player fans fell in love with during his years with the Orlando Magic. He posted a ridiculous 19.6 points, 14.6 rebounds, 1.6 blocks while shooting 63.3 percent from the field. Although he is shooting 54 percent from the foul line this season, in this 10 game stretch Howard had shot a respectable 63.6 percent from the free throw line.

Starting tonight with a #DwightSlam. Dwight Howard #NBAVote https://t.co/4iUksoHH3K

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 5, 2016

So trading the big fella would be a dumb idea. Howard has shown time again how important he is to the Rockets. However, when thinking about what players Morey should consider trading. One such player is Donatas Motiejunas whose time in Houston may be about to come to an end. It’s been a tough season for D-Mo. Since his back surgery, Motiejunas has not been the same player.

After taking some additional time off during his recovery, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Motiejunas is heading to the D-League as the next step of his rehab process.

#Rockets PF Donatas Motiejunas (back) got shots up yesterday, sent to #DLeague Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He wants to play and shake rust off

— @kc1nyk (@kc1nyk) January 30, 2016

"“As a fourth-year player, he had to give his consent for the Rockets to send him to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. It was not difficult to get his consent, however, because he wanted to get playing time a stint in the D-League will offer.  A key to the Rockets’ frontcourt success with Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones out for much of last season, he had struggled with his timing after so long off the floor, but still made half his shots and 41.2 percent of his 3s.”"

Glad to see Motiejunas is taking the right steps to get back into basketball shape. Unfortunately, with the emergence of Clint Capela, his time in Houston may be over. Hopefully D-Mo will play well enough with the Vipers, so that another NBA team will take a chance on the four year veteran player in a trade. Trade or not, this is a great chance for Motiejunas to get healthy and prove that he can still play a productive role in this league.

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