Houston Rockets forward James Ennis is expected to miss some time after suffering a hamstring strain.
Hamstring strain is quickly becoming the two least favorite words in the English language for Houston Rockets fans. Chris Paul‘s hamstring strain in Game 5 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals cost the Rockets a shot at a championship. A strained hamstring also sidelined Paul and James Harden for three games each earlier this season.
It looks like we’ll have to add James Ennis to that list. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that James Ennis will miss “a few days” due to a hamstring strain. Ennis left Houston’s game against Portland late in the third quarter and never returned. Fortunately, the Rockets were able to weather a late-game run from the Blazers and walk away with a win.
Before their win against Portland, the Rockets were on a three-game losing streak. In order to shake things up, Mike D’Antoni decided to move Ennis to the second unit in favor of starting Eric Gordon.
Gordon, who won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in the 2016-17 season and finished as runner-up for the same award last season, is Houston’s fourth leading scorer and the team’s third best playmaker.
The Rockets certainly lose a bit of length when starting Gordon over Ennis, but the increased production on the offensive end will hopefully make up for it. As far as on-ball defense is concerned, Houston shouldn’t lose much by starting Gordon because he is a solid defender, but they will be smaller in the front court. The trio of Harden, Paul and Gordon out scored their opponents by 21.6 points per 100 possessions when they were on the floor together last season.
When Ennis returns, he will likely resume his new role in the second unit. Eric Gordon finished with 14 points and led the team in minutes with 38 Tuesday night against the Blazers.