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Daily Rocket Science: Lessons from Losses

Mar 6, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball over Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball over Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets haven’t lost nearly as many games this season as they were predicted to lose. Still, there are lessons to be learned from each game that doesn’t add to the W column.

Monday night, the Houston Rockets lost a heartbreaker to the San Antonio Spurs. Kawhi Leonard‘s activities in the last minute of the game included making a contest go-ahead three, erasing James Harden‘s layup that would have tied the score, and successfully dribbling out the last 10 seconds off the clock. It was a stellar minute-long performance that vaulted him into the MVP discussion for many pundits.

Since the Rockets will likely face the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs, it’s imperative that the team spends time watching film from Monday night’s game. With any loss, there are lessons to learn for how to make the team better. Today’s Daily Rocket Science will look at what could be done to better the team in the near and distant future.

Houston Rockets news from around the web

As usual, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle wrote on his three takeaways from Houston’s recent loss to San Antonio. The overarching summary of the takeaways is that the Rockets are on the same level as the Spurs. They might have only won one game against them in the regular season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll falter in the playoffs.

"The Rockets scored well, largely because Harden was so unstoppable. But they did not have a great offensive game by their standards. It did not take a great offensive game to beat the Spurs as one more bucket or defensive stop would have been enough. But the probability is to beat them, especially in San Antonio, the Rockets will likely have to shoot far better than they did on Monday. Now, they have to hope for another chance in May."

One thing that prevented the Rockets from beating the Spurs on Monday was Lou Williams‘s off night. He shot just 1-10, drastically worse than what he’s used to shooting. Overall, he’s been one of the best mid-season additions of any in the NBA. Bleacher Report’s Adam Fromal wrote that, if his defense were better, he might be the very best trade acquisition.

"On the season as a whole, Williams has added 172.12 points on offense, per NBA Math, which leaves him trailing just 20 of the NBA’s brightest stars. However, he’s also subtracted 100.14 on the point-preventing side, which leaves him ahead of only , , and . C.J. McCollum Andrew Wiggins Devin Booker Isaiah Thomas"

More from Space City Scoop

If the Rockets aren’t able to snag a championship this season, then this summer will be huge. Another article for Bleacher Report by Dan Favale discusses each team’s biggest free agency targets this summer. The Rockets have a weakness at the SF position, and there will be several good options available in the near future.

"could easily price himself out of Utah with and due for mammoth pay increases. He’s been the Jazz’s best perimeter defender while dancing between three positions, and his 43.2 percent success rate from distance jibes with Houston’s all-three-point-everything offense. Joe Ingles George Hill Gordon Hayward"

The Houston Rockets aren’t a perfect team, and learning from their shortcomings is a must. Hopefully, though, they won’t have many losses from which to learn for the rest of the season. They’re at the third seed right now, but that’s no guarantee.

Next: James Harden's Case for MVP

Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for news, rumors, and analytics pertaining to the Rockets.

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