The execution by the Houston Rockets late in the games recently is a cause for concern. Will the return of their star point guard be the answer they are looking for right now?
James Harden has practically been a one-man showing, averaging over 40 points a game in those games and putting up some super-human performances. He is keeping this team in the race in the West, despite the poor health of the squad.
Daryl Morey should also be applauded for his acquisions during the stretch. Austin Rivers has been a great replacement and should be fun to have off the bench when everyone is healthy. Kenneth Faried is looking like his old self again thanks to being on this team. Danuel House was fantastic for the team, despite the two sides being in some contract negotiation issues right now.
One thing that has been upsetting during this stretch, however, is the concerning play of the Rockets late in games when they have a lead. They have blown multiple late leads and can’t seem to finish out games. Mental lapses and poor decision-making has been running rampant and must be fixed.
When they occured
During the game against the Magic on the 13th, the Rockets were practically in control the entire way. They let up a huge second part of the fourth quarter, though, and ended up losing by 7.
Against the Nets on the 16th was arguably the worst blown lead. The Rockets held an 8-point lead in regulation with hardly any time to go before blowing the lead to Spencer Dinwiddie and his shot-making. They then had a 7-point lead in overtime of that game, which they also blew and lost the game.
Against the Knicks on Wednesday night, the Rockets had a huge third quarter to put them well up-front. The game got way too close at the end when the team blew a 10+ point lead and some late-game heroics from Eric Gordon and James Harden were needed. Plays like this one below should never happen. Ever.
what did i just watch pic.twitter.com/1uINah6t20
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 24, 2019
Finally, last night against the Raptors, the Rockets held another comfortable 10+ point lead. They ended up making lapses in judgment that allowed Toronto to get a last-second shot to try to win it. Thankfully, they missed due to some great defense from the Beard.
Chris Paul’s return
Will Chris Paul’s return help the Rockets as they try to fix these late-game issues? I sure hope so, because something needs to change. On both ends of the court, the team is super sloppy in these scenarios where they should win easily.
CP3 gives the team another ball-handler that will be able to knock down free throws and execute offensive plays in these situations. He hopes to return Sunday against the Magic and it couldn’t come sooner.