3 Takeaways From Houston Rockets Costly Loss in Dallas

Apr 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; The Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets fight for the loose ball during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Rockets 88-86. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; The Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets fight for the loose ball during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Rockets 88-86. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s no denying it: The Houston Rockets lost the most important game of the season to the Mavs last night. And with a spot in the playoffs at stake we’ll review 3 takeaways from the heart breaking defeat.

Even though the Houston Rockets are still in the race for a spot in this spring’s  playoffs last night’s defeat might proved costly. How costly is yet to be determined. Not only because it was against their Texan rivals, the Dallas Mavericks, but also due to the fact that is a team directly in line fighting with the Rockets for one of the final playoff spots.

And, although J.B. Bickerstaff is finally looking to be integrate new players to tweak and adapt his rotations the team continues to make similar fundamental mistakes. They run very few plays and rely too heavily on Harden’s dependence of hero ball with his iso plays utilized even more  (and as flawed) than ever.

Let’s go ahead and take a look back at  the 3 takeaways from the Houston Rockets defeat to the Dallas Mavericks

The K.J. McDaniels Surprise Factor (or was it?)

Since the Houston Rockets struggle started, (so, in other words in November) fans have been begging to see K.J. McDaniels get a few minutes of playing time. And while this has only come to fruition in the last couple games one has to wonder if it was too little, too late.

Every time he is on court McDaniels shows glimpses of greatness that makes everyone understand why the Rockets used most of their mid-level exception to lock him down for three years;

Last night though Bickerstaff came with him right off the bat and even if that might show a sense of trust by the interim head coach in the strong small forward, I dispute that.

McDaniels spent 15 quality minutes on court where he ran back and forth the whole time, knocked down the only shots he got and exhibited some wonderful defensive skills.

However he disappeared in the second half and I don’t mean he personally disappeared I mean Bickerstaff went back to predominant minutes for Corey Brewer.  All told Brewer got 23 minutes of action while only knocking down 1-of-9 shots and not contributing to anything else. It makes me wonder: Shouldn’t a coach understand that and adapt?

While on court McDaniels is capable of doing things like such:

Dwight Howard Lights up after getting scored on by Zaza Pachulia

Now, I loved this one because it shows Dwight Howard still cares about basketball and has a fire in his belly.

The gifs will give you the general idea, but basically: immediately after Zaza Pachulia scored an easy layup after grabbing an offensive rebound over Howard, Howard went bonkers, gets back at Zaza with a put back dunk of his own after throwing Pachulia behind him like a rag doll.

Check it out:

In the very next play Howard gets his revenge, take a look:

Howard went on to score the next 8 points for the team. And that’s the Dwight Howard every Houston Rockets fan would love to get every game.

Unfortunately his performances more often than not, are far from resembling anything remotely close from what we saw last night. Sometimes that’s because of his disinterest and other times it’s because no one bothers to run what is even a semblance of a play for him (even when he has the decided advantage in the paint).

Harden’s ISO Plays May have Cost the Game

We’ve all grown accustomed to James Harden ineffective ISO plays however the team’s inability to conclude a play without James Harden touching the ball or even finishing it himself is borderline stupid.

Harden tried three times consecutively last night to take Wesley Matthews to the basket and give the Rockets the lead: and three times he failed.

But one of the last plays of the game just shows how much this team relies on Harden for everything. Patrick Beverley was running a fast break then gave the ball to Corey Brewer open on the corner with only Barea guarding him.

Instead of challenging the small Barea, drive to the basket and get the points, Brewer inexplicably gave it back to Beverley who then wasted about 10 seconds of one of the last possessions just trying to get the ball to an extremely well guarded James Harden.

For his turn Harden then drives for a layup inside a very crowded paint while Howard could’ve easily converted the lob pass over Dirk Nowitzki. Take a look:

The ISO play is way too predictable already. Teams expect the Rockets to go to Harden. It’s also a very high risk play.

Going forward we can only hope that the goal for the Rockets and their head coach would be trying to develop different strategies and plays in order to either get to the basket, move the ball or get higher percentage shots to close out games in a more effective way.

No more ISO, please.

Next: Should Rockets Tank?

Next: Bickerstaff's Puzzling Rotations

Next: 5 Players Rockets Should Target

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