In the early stretches of the season, the Rockets were the media's darling team. They were young, athletic, and dynamic, and had vaulted up the standings to change the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Articles like this were being written about them. In recent days, the Rockets offense bogged down as the front court struggled and the Rockets have tumbled down in the standings.
Tonight, a combination of an awful shooting back court (10-35 combined), an inability to guard anyone in white, and Dallas' time scoring doomed the Rockets to their fifth straight loss. Let's go deeper into the loss as we analyze three different aspects of the game.
1) Containing the Turnovers
After an awful nine turnovers in the first quarter, the Rockets got their act together, giving the ball up just 7 times the rest of the way. Most notably, Chandler Parsons had 18 points on 14 shots without giving up a single turnover.
As the game went on, the Rockets seemed to go as the turnovers went. As they took care of the ball in the third, they cut an 8 point Dallas lead at the half to just two at one point.
If this team wants to return to their winning ways of the early season, eliminating turnovers is by far the best way.
2) Patrick Beverley Stealing Minutes?
Over the last few days, Kevin McHale has been talking about how he thinks a number of players have hit "the wall." That is, a number of players are playing more minutes than they ever have and the fatigue has been wearing on their games.
For that reason, opening up the rotation a bit makes a lot of sense. The Rockets have been going with a three guard rotation, with Toney Douglas the only bench guard playing significant minutes, but Patrick Beverley looked strong for the second game in a row for the Rockets.
He penetrated the paint at will, hit shots in traffic, and threw some terrific passes. If he can join the guard rotation, it will go a long way towards solving the Rockets' rotation problems .
3) Interesting Lin vs. Harden Dynamic Late in the Game
On a night where James Harden was struggling big time and Jeremy Lin caught fire in the fourth, it was Harden that was taking the late game shots. And missing them.
Harden has been doing it all season, but on a night where Harden clearly did not have his A-game, I think Lin has to be less passive and simply take those late shots. He was hitting in the fourth, so there was no reason for him to let up and dump the ball off to Harden.
In the end, Harden missed far too many easy looks for the Rockets to come up with the victory. The Rockets fell for the fifth game in a row, putting themselves in position to fall out of the playoff picture for the first time in months.