This really was a tough loss again for the Rockets. Houston falls to 0-5 in OT this season and 2-16 against the top 8 teams in the West, not something you want to read as your team is trying to claw into the playoffs. Now they head to Salt Lake City tomorrow night for the second night of a back to back to face the Jazz who play great at home, to split this back to back would be a real gut check effort. Their legs will be tired for sure. Unfortunately, tonight they couldn't get Kevin Martin a W on his 28th birthday. He did try to get it himself, scoring 30 points tonight again with his usual efficiency, however if you want to see an interesting stat, he was the only Rocket to shoot free throws tonight by going 10-11, opposed to the Lakers who had 6 guys shoot free throws, going to the line 24 times making 20. For those who didn't watch the game, this game was back and forth all throughout and really was anybody's taking towards the end. Lakers would take a 6 point lead or so every so often then Rockets come back to take lead or tie, Houston looked really good when leading 70-65 in 3rd quarter but seemed to lose momentum after that. Another thing I noticed that seems to happen to the Rockets everytime they play the top teams, they can stay close for long periods of time but when push comes to shove they lack that closer and because they don't get those early open shots they struggle to be flexible in the offense, I mean I don't think Kyle Lowry shooting threes, of which he shot 6 and made none is the best option. Despite all of this, Rockets did pull to a 104-100 lead in OT and once again seemed to have momentum but only scored 2 points the remaining 2 + minutes, allowing LA to go on a 16 to 2 run. Those dry spells hit the Rockets in the worst possible time, it might not be an entire quarter but no matter when it happens its just the worst timing. Still we must appreciate the Argentinean, Scola continues to be the Rockets MVP with 24 points and 15 rebounds tonight. He could be the first Argentinean to average 20 + points a game for a season. He just brings it every game which is something to be appreciated. He played 41 minutes and shot 12-20.
Still a working progress,
It was good to see Aaron Brooks bounce back a little, with 16 points, but 2-10 from 3 shows he is still getting his legs back under him. We are still waiting to see that Aaron we got used to last season when he won most improved. Moving to coaching, I questioned when Adelman decided not to bring Battier back in OT when Kobe was on his little run but i've been questioning his substitution methods all season so thats for another day. Rockets lost the rebounding battle 54-44 which really hurt. It is hard for the Rockets to lose the rebounding battle and still win games. Houston can stay in games with their offense but staying close will not cut it. They just don't have that edge to them that they had last year, that chip on their shoulder. Sure they went 42-40 last year but we were proud of them, saying, they did it without Yao. But this year, 22-28, falling down in the playoff race, even when they win its hard to be proud because of some of the horrible defensive breakdowns. This team needs a shakeup and it will be interesting to see if Morey makes the change now or waits till the offseason. Anyways, its always hard after a loss but the same story continues for Houston this season, almost but not quite.
Until Next Time