Houston Rockets face red-hot Mavericks in tonight's action

Can the Houston Rockets slow Kyrie Irving down?
Can the Houston Rockets slow Kyrie Irving down? / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets were the hottest team in the NBA. Notice the past tense. After a torrid 11-game winning streak, the Rockets have dropped four in a row.

That might be a problem in tonight's contest. After all, the Rockets are up against the Dallas Mavericks. They may be the hottest team in the NBA. The Mavs have won 9 of their last 10 contests.

Do the Rockets stand a chance?

Houston Rockets look hobbled down the stretch

It's not looking optimistic.

We already knew that the Rockets would be without Alperen Sengun and Tari Eason. Eason has been out for most of the season, and Sengun suffered a potentially season-ending injury early in March.

Now, Amen Thompson carries the "probable" tag. He's expected to suit up tonight, but it's not a given. Even if he is available, he may be compromised.

When Sengun went down, the Rockets lost their offensive engine. Thompson was inserted into the starting lineup, and the Rockets had a new look. By increasing their pace, the team seemed to unlock Jalen Green.

Recently, Green has looked locked up. Teams have adjusted by aggressively trapping and double-teaming him. Rockets fans should expect the Mavericks to use the same strategy.

In fact, the Mavericks have been using a lot of successful strategies recently.

Houston Rockets may be outmatched

The Mavs have looked unstoppable recently. After a busy trade deadline, they've built a two-way team that can rival anybody.

It's worth noting that Luka Doncic is questionable in tonight's action. Without him, this offense is significantly less dynamic. The Rockets can hone in on Kyrie Irving and guard him similarly to how Dallas will guard Green.

Otherwise, Derrick Lively III is expected to miss this one as well. He's been a solid defensive presence for Dallas as a rookie, but they'll live with Daniel Gafford in the middle.

Dallas has a general size advantage against Houston. Gafford will easily outmuscle Jabari Smith Jr. The Rockets could be in for a long night.

Does it even matter?

Houston Rockets look checked out

Not really.

Let's be honest - the Rockets look like a team that's accepted defeat. Their play-in hopes are all but dashed. The Rockets have looked checked out since a devastating loss to the Golden State Warriors.

We'll see if they can find themselves against the Mavericks.