The Houston Rockets are on their first losing streak of the season. Tonight, they’ll have the perfect opportunity to bounce back against the struggling Brooklyn Nets.
If the Houston Rockets were taking on the Golden State Warriors or even a team like the Milwaukee Bucks (they play both of them later this week) tonight, there could be reason to worry. After how much of last year’s failure was attributed to lack of motivation and bad attitudes, the last thing I want for this year’s Rockets is a rough stretch to get them down on themselves.
They’re not playing a good team tonight, though. Instead, they’re taking on the worst club in the NBA. The Brooklyn Nets have yet to win even 10 games this season, and it doesn’t look like things will get better anytime soon.
One might assume that they’re tanking, but there’s not even a reason to do that. The Boston Celtics own Brooklyn’s first round pick for 2017 and 2018. Remember when the Nets traded for all of Boston’s old guys? Yeah, they’re still suffering the consequences.
Knowing that the Nets are as bad as they seem, this should be the perfect bounce back game for the Rockets. A convincing win on the road tonight could right the ship as they prepare to take on a four-games-in-five-nights situation this week.
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The only issue that could present itself for tonight’s game is Brook Lopez. The big man is averaging over 20 points per game and is somehow shooting more accurately from three than James Harden. Montrezl Harrell and Nene will have their hands full as they try to hold down the paint.
The ray of hope in that matchup is that Lopez is a surprisingly bad rebounder. He averages 5 per game, which will give Houston’s big men the opportunity to step it up on that front.
No matter what matchups exist, tonight’s game will be the Rockets’ to lose. Brooklyn’s defense allows more points per game than any other team in the league. They simply can’t stop opponents from scoring.
Houston, on the other hand, scores more points per game than any team other than the Warriors. If there were ever a game to get their shooting back on track, it’d be tonight’s.
In an 82-game season, every team will have troubles at one point or another. The fact that the Rockets are going through their first slump of the season in mid-January is encouraging, and a two-game losing streak is hardly a slump. Still, tonight’s game is an opportunity for the guys to prove their mental toughness.
Last year, it wouldn’t be out of character for the Rockets to get in a rut and stay there for a week or so. This season’s a different story.