Rockets News

Rockets: Offense has been unrecognizable without Harden

By Michael Knight
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets goes to the basket against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 30, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets goes to the basket against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 30, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets have now dropped all three games without their star and MVP, James Harden. The offense has been absolutely unrecognizable in the Ls, even more than expected.

What in the world is happening? The Rockets are now 1-5 to start the season after dropping yet another game without James Harden. The last two losses of the three without the Beard have come in blowout fashion, as well.

The Rockets lost just a few minutes ago to the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that a Harden-less Rockets beat last season by 8 points. And it isn’t like the Blazers really improved, either. There is no reason why this game shouldn’t have been at least competitive.

Unrecognizable offense

The biggest concern right now is the unrecognizable offense that the Rockets have going on right now. The team had a historically great season last year on that end of the court and were solid in the games that Harden missed.

The point totals in the three games without the Beard? 89 points against the Jazz. 113 against the Clippers, with a ton of them coming in garbage time in the fourth quarter. 85 against the Trail Blazers, a middle of the road defensive team.

Coming into this game, the Rockets had the 20th ranked offense in the league. That surely will lower with this blowout loss to the Blazers. With a mastermind like Mike D’Antoni calling the shots, there has to be a better offensive gameplan than this.

Chris Paul has been poor so far without Harden and that continued tonight. He is the tank of the offense with no Beard, he needs to play like it.

With James Harden in the lineup, the offense hasn’t been an issue. They scored at least 112 points in his three games so far. The issues there was the defense, which is starting to show some signs of life. The Jazz loss had some great defense all around, just horrible offense. The Rockets also only allowed 104 points to a solid Blazers offense.

Let’s hope Harden’s return (soon please) will be the start of the turnaround in Houston. Currently, as it stands, our own Tevin Williams put it best in his live-tweeting of tonight’s game:

Watching the Rockets now, you’d never know it was largely this same roster that nearly defeated one of the best teams in NBA history just 5 months ago.

Yes losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute hurt, but MBAM did very little for Houston in the postseason.

I don’t know what to say ?‍♂️

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 31, 2018

Butler?

Jimmy Butler might be the move right now. He is a fantastic player on both ends of the court, which apparently is something the Rockets need. In less than three hours on Halloween, it’s possible to trade Marquese Chriss and/or Brandon Knight in a combination deal. If I was in the front office, I might be on the phones working on a potential deal tonight.

Jimmy can help in many aspects. He may be intense, but he’ll make sure, hopefully, that the Rockets are working hard and playing to the potential that they have, which is a championship contender. His play on offense and defense also would help a ton, too.

Next. Carmelo Anthony solid in first games

Whatever is going on, it’s unacceptable. Obviously, there is plenty of time as there have only been five games, but something has to change or it won’t get better. Let’s hope the return of Harden and a potential trade can do the trick.

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