ESPN analyst Marc Spears discusses the importance of the Houston Rockets winning their first game against the Dallas Mavericks.
The 2019-20 season proved to be a bit of a bumpy ride for the Houston Rockets, as they finished with a 40-24 record heading into the suspension of games in March. The Rockets currently hold the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings, which would be the worst finish the team has had since finishing eighth in the 2015-16 season that was a major disappointment.
The Rockets had four winning streaks of at least four games and three losing streaks of at least three games, which indicates the roller-coaster ride the Rockets had throughout the season . But this was to be expected, as Rockets GM Daryl Morey made two major trades for key players that were inserted in the starting lineup in Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington.
As well all know, it takes time for new additions to learn how to adjust and adapt to a new team, and especially an offense as complex as the one Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni employs. The Rockets also had an abundance of newcomers in Ben McLemore, Jeff Green, and Bruno Caboclo, which also made the adjustment period all the more difficult.
If that wasn’t enough, the Rockets played a healthy amount of games without several of their key players, as Russell Westbrook missed 11 games, and the Rockets went 6-5 in his absence. In addition, Eric Gordon missed 30 games, and the Rockets went 19-11 when the former Sixth Man of the Year was inactive.
When you add all that up, the Rockets have their sights set on climbing in the rankings in their final eight games, as they hold an extremely slim lead over the Dallas Mavericks, who hold the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets face off against the Mavs in their first game back in action, which could prove to be one of the most important games on the Rockets’ remaining schedule.
ESPN analyst Marc Spears joined ABC 13’s David Nuno and Raheel Ramzanali, who hosts The Raheel Show, to discuss the importance of the Rockets defeating the Mavs.
Marc Spears states importance of Rockets defeating Mavericks
“They open with the Mavericks, and they’re only a game ahead of the Mavericks. If the Mavericks pass them, then they’re the seventh spot and potentially playing the Clippers in the first round. And to me, that’s one thing that is a really tough thing for the Rockets to deal with, is bad seeding.”
The Rockets currently lead the Mavericks by 1.5 games, which is certainly too close for comfort. The Rockets faced Dallas twice this season and went 1-1 against the Mavs.
Interestingly enough, the Rockets defeated Dallas after coach Mike D’Antoni turned to the small ball lineup. Granted Luka Doncic didn’t play in that game due to injury, so that may not be the best gauge.
As Spears points out, a loss to the Mavs could spell a first-round matchup against the LA Clippers, who are essentially locked into the second seed, as they remain 5.5 games back against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Rockets have publicly stated that they aren’t afraid of the Clippers, although they went 2-2 against the Kawhi Leonard-led crew. The good thing is that the Houston Rockets control their own destiny, as they can end all of the hypotheticals of them losing to Dallas by simply beating the Mavericks.