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The Rockets are not a good basketball team. That makes me a sad panda.

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In watching the Rockets completely fall apart in the third quarter last night, I realized one thing.  Okay, I realized a lot of things, but one thing in particular:  the Rockets simply are not a good basketball team, and the addition of Yao Ming (if that ever happens) will not make much of a difference. 

Rick Adelman is to be commended for many things as a head coach, but his rotations this year are not one of them.  He leaves Chuck Hayes on the court too long.  He yanks Courtney Lee just when Lee seems to have a clue what to do.  He has shown nothing but disdain for the talents of Jordan Hill.  He can't figure out what to do with Luis Scola's total destruction of the league -- so he instead refuses to call any plays for Luis for 10+ possessions at a time. 

Then again, as much as I want to poke fun at Coach Sleepy... I'm not sure there's anything he could really do.  The Rockets are not losing because of coaching.  Not even Phil Jackson's magic hippie tricks could get Chuck Hayes to grow 6" or for Yao's feet to magically heal.  Or Courtney Lee to make a freakin' free throw against the Spurs.  Then again...

The Rockets just are not an elite team.  They lack a go-to player (though I contend that any team with Scola and Speed Racer does not need a "go to" player for offense).  They definitely lack a player with a killer instinct.  They have no defensive identity.  The supposed "Adelman offense" has been a monumental failure so far this year, even with the additions of Brad Miller, Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee. 

Yes, we could blame injuries... but every team deals with injuries.  It sucks that Manu Ginobili is a Cortland Finnegan-esque player and his actions directly attributed to ABZ's ankle injury.  It also sucks that Yao Ming has Bill Walton's feet.  Nonetheless, there is still enough talent on this team to win 55 games.  There is.  I just do not see much of a singular mindset to go out and win games.  The Rockets have been technically "in" all but two games in the fourth quarter this year.  They just find ways to lose.  Repeatedly.  This is bothersome.

It also makes me a sad panda.

I wish I had something witty to offer.  I wish the Rockets gave me hope.  Alas, I don't and they do not.

Please.  Someone... anyone... give me a reason for optimism.  I beg of you.