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James Harden gave Rockets another spark, but again it wasn't enough

Rockets not able to sustain James Harden's spark in loss to the Bulls

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It's officially official: the Rockets are inconsistent. They got a great, come-from-behind win over the Cavaliers. Then a few nights later, the Bulls beat the Rockets 103-100, coming back just like the Rockets did on Tuesday.

A few times during the game, the Rockets were able to get out to some fairly commanding leads, but the Bulls would always find a back into the game. Just when you start believing Houston might have found something, they show you that you're dead wrong.

Below are three takeaways from the Rockets home loss to the Bulls.

James Harden the spark, at least for a little while=

The third quarter started and both teams come out of halftime pretty flat. Then James Harden and the Rockets started to get going, and the offense was flowing and rolling downhill.

Trevor Ariza nailed back-to--back threes, both thanks to assists from Harden. Then Harden nailed a nasty crossover at the top of the key only to drive to the rim for a sick dunk (fouled as well). Before you knew it, the Rockets were up 14 points.

Harden had a hand (assist or scored) in six of the eight scoring possessions during that run. They played great on both sides of the ball. J.B. Bickerstaff then subbed out the three of the guys that gave them the lead. Jason Terry was subbed in for Patrick Beverley, Michael Beasley was in for Donatas Motiejunas and Clint Capela was subbed for Dwight Howard.

I'm not saying the subs lead to the lead be given up, but on paper, that is what happened.

What the hell just happened

Lack of focus, the Bulls just wanted it more, the Rockets got complacent up 14 points. There are possibly a 100 different things you can say, and they would all be correct.

A saying from Denny Green comes to mind: "They are who we thought they were" They are inconsistent just like we thought they were.

"(We) stopped moving, stopped pushing, stopped playing with pace," J.B. Bickerstaff said. "The things that we were successful at, the way we built the lead, we stopped doing it. We got in a rut, we couldn't find a way to dig ourselves out of it."

He is a million percent right, there is no reason the Rockets couldn't continue playing with pace or pushing the action. They just didn't. At most the Rockets will give you a taste of what "Rocket ball" is supposed to be. The have still yet to play one game with consistent effort for a full 48 minutes. With a hand full of games left in the season, it's hard to think anything will change.

We'll know soon what is next

As of Thursday night, the Rockets sit with the ninth seed a half-game out of the playoffs. As much as it would be smart to miss the playoffs and keep their first round pick, they will continue to push and try and make the playoffs.

"Win," Michael Beasley said, "We can't really rely on other teams losing, we really gotta take control of ourselves, obviously with losses like this one it's depleting, but will keep our heads up and go get the next one."

The next two games will have a huge say in if the Rockets will make the playoffs. A home matchup with the Thunder and a road matchup with the Mavericks.