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The Rockets' small ball lineup has a big problem

While small ball is great, sometimes it can have a pretty awful byproduct.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We all knew this was bound to happen, right? We all knew eventually the Rockets would be blown out on the glass (again). On Wednesday night, that exact thing happened (again). The Nets destroyed the Rockets on the glass, snagging 60 rebounds to the Rockets' 45.

The lack of rebounds wasn't Dwight Howard's fault, he cleaned up the glass as much as he could, collecting 17 himself. Even James Harden managed to grab 9 rebounds. The problem was no one else on the team had more than four.

While the Rockets love being spread out on offense having essentially one center and four guards. The problem you run into is having four guards and one center trying to rebound missed shots.

When shots are going in, it's no big deal, not much to rebound. But the killer is when you play good defense and get the miss, and then you give up an offensive rebound that's just a killer.

"Their offensive rebounding killed us," Head coach Kevin McHale said postgame. The Rockets gave up 20 offensive rebounds and 33 second-chance points.

"I just think that when we play small ball, everybody has to make a concentrated effort to really help each other out on the boards." Dwight Howard said, "A lot of times when I went over to help, and block shots or whatever, they would crash the boards and send their guys in. We need to do a better job of that,"

Howard is right. On Wednesday night no one aside Nets players was even near the glass.

It shouldn't matter if you have a lineup of Howard and four Muggsy Bogues. If you crash the boards good things will happen.

"I know that everybody wants to say the size or whatever," Marcus Thornton said. "It's about heart out there, it's about heart and determination and effort. It's just you wanting to it and we just have to find a way,"

For the most part, the Rockets have found what Thornton was searching for. One of the early constants during the "small ball" era is the non-bigs have rebounded pretty well. During the four-game win streak, Thornton averaged 5.25 rebounds a game, and Trevor Ariza averaged 6.5.

The Rockets got a wake-up call against the Nets. If they expect to win more games with the small-ball lineup, Dwight Howard can't be the only guy rebounding the ball.

They will face plenty of teams that will try and counter the small ball lineup. It's on the Rockets to prove they can stay small.

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