Mike D’Antoni and the Houston Rockets are more concerned about getting their rhythm back than resting their stars.
The Rockets have been anything but sharp over their last two games.
On Friday, the Rockets dug themselves into a 21-point deficit against the Phoenix Suns. Not only are the Suns the worst team in the NBA, but they were without Devin Booker, who has a strained hand.
The Rockets were able to win the game after a Gerald Green buzzer beating 3-pointer, but they put up a lackluster effort.
Houston got away with a poor performance against the Suns, but the Spurs are a totally different beast. The Rockets weren’t sharp again, and San Antonio made them pay to the tune of a 100-83 blowout.
Houston scored their fewest points (83), fewest assists (12) and fewest 3-pointers (7) of the season, and it reminded us too much of last year’s Game 6 against the Spurs in the playoffs.
Mike D’Antoni is more concerned with keeping up the good habits that his team has built this season instead of resting his stars, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
“We just didn’t bring it. We just weren’t sharp. We haven’t been sharp now for about three or four games. It hasn’t just been one or two days. That’s scary when you rest guys. That’s why at the end of the year, you’ve got to be careful taking guys out and just resting them. Everybody wants rest, rest, rest. Well, they’ve got to play. Otherwise, we’re going to lose the advantage of what you worked for for 80 games, and it’s scary times for us. You’ve got to play. You’ve got to bring it, and you’ve got to bring it every day. We’ll get it back.”
The Rockets are going to lose games, just like every other team. But ever since Houston clinched the No. 1 seed, they’ve just been going through the motions.
The Rockets have to get their rhythm back
The Rockets have clinched the top spot, and it’s hard to manufacture some sort of desperation if it simply doesn’t exist. But Mike D’Antoni knows the importance of good habits, and he doesn’t want his team to think that they can just “turn it on” whenever they need to.
“We definitely don’t want to go into the playoffs playing the way that we’ve been playing these past few games. … Just stay greedy. We are competitors. That’s what we do. We have to remember that. We have to continue to play hard and continue to build our habits.”
Next, the Rockets play the Wizards on Tuesday, who has added a healthy John Wall. Then, the Rockets will play Portland on Thursday followed by Oklahoma City on Saturday.
The Rockets are in the midst of their last tough stretch of the season. D’Antoni will probably get James Harden and Chris Paul some extra minutes of rest whenever he can. Although, if the Rockets don’t get out of this funk, they could face their first losing streak since the beginning of January.