The Houston Rockets once again slept walked into another basketball game. The Dallas Mavericks came into tonight's game without Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews. Sure, the Rockets were down Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas and Patrick Beverley. That is a lot of scoring and a little bit of defense that was missing for the Mavs, not to mention rebounding and leadership. Still the Mavericks came into Houston tonight and stomped all over the Rockets, 110-98.
The final score is not as close as it appears to be either. The Rockets were simply outclassed by a hungrier, more focused and a Dallas team that wanted the win more than the Rockets did.
The Rockets have this aura about them that if they walk into a game they are going to win by just showing up. They are not the 1996 Chicago Bulls, nor are they the Kobe and Shaq Lakers of the early 2000's. This Rockets team has made one Conference Finals in the last 20 years and they lost it in five games. James Harden cannot lackadaisically play defense like he has been. Was Mr. Hardashian (credit to Colin Ainsworth, follow him on Twitter and here's his SB Nation profile) out partying all night again?
The defense tonight was anemic at best. Even without Howard the Rockets have the athletes and length to provide the tools for a suitable defense. Yet, they lack the constitution and testicular fortitude to put out a solid effort on a night-to-night basis this season. This does not come down on Daryl Morey, this is on Kevin McHale and all of the players to have a little bit of pride in their performances. James Hardashian and the Houston Rockets were supposed to compete for a championship this season and yet we are seeing a team with no heart (again).
The Rockets shot just 38% from the field tonight and 27% from three (just below their season average).
Three Rockets score in double figures tonight. Terrance Jones probably had the best overall game for the team. He was out there scrapping for most of the night. He had 23 points and six rebounds to go with three blocked shots. Jason Terry had a throwback night, scoring 19 points on 60% shooting. Harden led the team with 25 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds. On paper that is a great game, but if you look further to the left on the box score he was 5-21 from the field, missing his first 14 shots during the game.
The Rockets are home again on Monday against the Boston Celtics. We'll be here for all your coverage.