The Rockets find themselves in a strange position, no doubt about that. After the canceled trade — and failed attempts to trade half the roster — it's not hard to imagine an already-listless team growing even more nonchalant about playing basketball for Daryl Morey and Leslie Alexander.
But the one thing Morey, and the most optimistic fans among us, continue to bank on is the knowledge that this is the same team as last year. Morey repeated that line over and over in his interviews around the trade deadline, both before and after the D-Mo deal got voided. And it's true, technically. And he worked his ass off to put together a team that was three wins away from the NBA Finals. It's not easy to simply give up on that.
So here we are, playing our traditional rivals whom we happening to be battling for playoff positioning. The Rockets teams that we loved over the years were scrappy, greater-than-the-sum-of-their-parts type crews. This team is not that. But hopefully they can start to at least compete.