"We had to beat the Rockets now because (unintelligible mumbling) they're not going to be this bad forever."
-Captain Jackass, 2015 (video is NSFW, and not safe for ears either)
That's the fear of 12 teams in the West. Well, maybe 11 since the Lakers are going to suck regardless. But the other 11 teams besides the Lakers, Warriors, and Spurs have been hoping and praying that the Rockets really do suck. That they have fallen apart and that the players have turned on each other.
They're hoping that Morey blows it up. Not this summer, but right now. Trade Howard, Ariza, and D-Mo and try to get some picks. That's what they're hoping for, and it's what Rockets fans would hope for if we were talking about another would-be contender.
I'll be the first to admit that it's been hard to find hope with this Rockets squad. Everyone the Rockets acquired of paid for this summer has been hurt or has been a complete disappoint until this point. That's a fact. At some point, Kevin McHale lost the team. Fact. For the first time in his tenure here, Daryl Morey has been stumped. Probably a fact.
But here they are, clinging to life in a suddenly not-so-terrifying Western Conference (except or those titans at the top). They're 2.5 games behind the Thunder for third place. THIRD! And hysterically, they have a tiebreaker over OKC at the moment.
The Rockets are riding a streak that should scare teams and should make themselves more confident. They're making threes. They're running the break. They're trying on defense. Those are the things that made them great last season. Now we have to see if it's finally translated to this season.
You can bet that the rest of the league is watching.
The Rockets return Dwight Howard to the lineup tonight as well as possibly getting some minutes for Donatas Motiejunas, though the Rockets may elect to sit him out since they have two days off before starting a stretch that includes 5 of the next games on the road.
These teams met earlier in the season, though neither had their starting center. Tonight both will be back. The Kings will be without Willie Cauley-Stein as the rookie has a dislocated finger. The Kings will likely start Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi, and DeMarcus Cousins. Meanwhile, the Kings' have a formidable bench of Darren Collison, Seth Curry, Rocket killer James Anderson, Marco Belinelli, and Kosta Koufos.
Should be a fun game. Tip-off is at 7pm CST.
Kings vs Rockets coverage