The 2021 calendar year hasn’t been kind to the Houston Rockets, as they traded one of their best players in franchise history in James Harden in return for a package of draft picks and Victor Oladipo, who also doesn’t want to be in Houston. The Rockets also saw rising star Christian Wood suffer a gruesome injury, which led to more doom for the franchise.
The Rockets’ play without Wood has been indicative of a team that was missing it’s best player, as they haven’t been competitive in any way, shape, or form without Wood, leading to a 13-game losing streak, which is the longest active streak in the league. The Rockets have even suffered multiple losses to the dismal Cleveland Cavaliers, who are one of the worst teams in the weaker Eastern Conference.
What’s worse is that during this losing streak the Rockets have had an average point differential of 18 points, and have lost 5 games by 20 points or more, including a 133-84 beat down by the Memphis Grizzlies on the last day of February, which was the third-worst loss in franchise history.
In that game, the Rockets’ 84 points was their lowest scoring total since November 8th, 2018. The Rockets also went 4-of-45 from 3-point range, putting them on the wrong end of a historical accomplishment.
The Rockets missed 25 straight threes on Sunday.
According to @EliasSports it's the second time in the last 20 seasons that a team missed 25 straight threes in a game.
Houston also missed 27 straight in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals against the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/80HswXMVVb
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 1, 2021
This should come as no surprise, however, as the Rockets have made just 28.4 percent of their threes during the losing streak, with several other horrid shooting displays.
- 8-for-43 from three vs. New York Knicks (18.6 percent)
- 8-for-37 from three vs. Washington Wizards (21.6 percent)
Sirius XM NBA analyst and former Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell shared his thoughts on the Rockets during Sirius XM’s The Starting Lineup.
NBA analyst and former coach questions whether Houston Rockets will win another game
“Houston is awful. They look like they can’t win another game.”
The Rockets figure to benefit from the league’s All-Star break, which ends for them on Thursday, as they face the Sacramento Kings followed by the Utah Jazz in their first back-to-back game in the second half of the season. If there was a positive takeaway for the Rockets, outside of the possibility of them landing a top prospect with a potential top draft pick, it’s the fact that Christian Wood will be returning to a clean bill of health and 2021 G-League sensation Kevin Porter Jr. will be joining the team and making his debut on Thursday.
In addition, the Rockets played a close game against the Philadelphia 76ers, who hold the top-seed in the Eastern Conference with a 24-12 record. In that game the Rockets nearly seized victory, as they trailed 110-106 with 1:28 remaining in the fourth, before eventually falling 118-113.
The Rockets also played a competitive game against Harden’s Brooklyn Nets, as they trimmed a 82-59 deficit to 10 points in the third quarter, thanks to a scoring surge from Victor Oladipo, who had 18 points in the quarter on 5-of-9 and 3-for-3 from long-range. The Rockets also made 41.9 percent of their 3-pointers in that game, on a healthy 43 attempts.
The Rockets face key decisions as the trade deadline approaches, as they mull whether they should tank or remain competitive for an opportunity to make the play-in tournament, as they are currently six games out of the 10th seed. Either way, the positive is that brighter days lie ahead, as things can’t get much worse than how they were in 2021, in which the Houston Rockets have gone 10-21.