As has come to be expected, the Rockets’ trend of mediocrity continues.
The Houston Rockets lost a somewhat lopsided game last night against the Chicago Bulls (they trailed by 18 at one point), and with it continued their march through the rut they’ve been in since the beginning of the season. Just when they let fans believe they were onto something (they won Wednesday despite shooting 3/34 from three), they go and play a mediocre team like the Bulls and where they never led after the second quarter.
Yesterday’s Daily Rocket Science was about the silver linings, but I’m admittedly not in as good a mood today after the most recent loss.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
Should/could the Rockets even think about trading James Harden? Can Michael Beasley ever live up to the expectations he had before the drug issues? Is the Ty Lawson experiment really the biggest failure in Houston’s history? If those are the questions that have been floating around in your head, then you need to head on over and read Rahat Huq‘s answers to those very inquiries at Red94. He’ll make you think and make you weary of the Rockets’ struggles this season but excited for the potential future.
"Michael Beasley and Josh Smith are on the same team now. That was the first quip I wanted to make. The second point I wanted to make–a very serious assertion–is that Michael Beasley will unlock his mesmerizing potential in a Rockets uniform and become the team’s stretch-four of the future. He will display the talents which made him one of the most dominant players in college basketball history."
As I’ve stressed many times before, the power forward situation in Houston is a complete disaster. There are more players who’ve played the four spot than any other position on the roster, yet only one of them is actually a good fit. It’s not that complicated: with Dwight Howard holding down the middle position, the PF needs to be able to stretch the floor so as to not crowd the paint, leaving room for Dwight to work and for James to drive. The only guy who matches that description is the one Morey just tried to trade away, Donatas Motiejunas. Now that he’s back, Darren Yuvan of The Dream Shake says the power forward spot is D-Mo’s for the taking.
Which brings us to the man many figured for the best fit in that spot all along, Donatas Motiejunas. D-Mo’s saga of back injuries and trades that never were needs no further mention here, but now that he’s back on the floor and back with the Rockets, the fates have graced him with a somewhat serendipitous opportunity to seize the power forward position and never let it go.
He played his first game in 2016 just last week in a loss to the Spurs, and with the team’s power forward situation still a mess, and the squad as a whole repeatedly cursed by slow starts, coach J.B. Bickerstaff quickly elevated him to the starting lineup Wednesday against the Pelicans, only D-Mo’s second start of the season.
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As I mentioned before, Houston has itself squarely planted in a rut of just okay, a pit of average. To back up that claim, Space City Scoop editor Tamberlyn Richardson updated us on where all the analysts have the Rockets ranked in their week 18 power rankings. I’ll give you all a hint of how well the they’re doing compared to the rest of the league: nobody ranked them in the top half. Personally, I came into this season expecting Houston to be placed in the top five on a consistent basis, so needless to say I’m not too thrilled with how things have been going.
"Stein has closely mirrored my picks throughout the season and also been one of the more positive advocates of the Rockets. This week he holds them steady at 17. Like him I’m starting to wonder if the Rockets will fall off the playoff ladder or if they’re simply teasing us all and will enter the post season on an upswing of momentum. If it’s the latter the Rockets could play spoiler with their talent and under achieved results of the regular season. Marc Stein ESPN:"
Houston plays tonight in Toronto, and more specifically, in a building that hasn’t seen a Raptors loss since January 3rd. I’m not saying the Rockets can’t win (this season is WAY too unpredictable for any definitive statements), but it will have to be a hard-fought game if they want a chance to survive. They’re hanging onto eighth place for the moment, but the ninth place Utah Jazz are certainly ready to jump on any opportunity to move up.
Send our Editor any Rockets-related article/video/tweet/gram/vine that we may have missed via Twitter direct message to @TTOTambz.
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