The Rockets started off with a lot of energy and pace but the Mavericks dug in and made it a street fight. They would slow the pace down almost to a crawl and they were able to clog the paint. The Rockets were just not able to sustain much in the fourth quarter, and the Mavericks ultimately overtook them.
K.J. McDaniels started!! Whaaaa?!
I am a wrestling fan, so only a few of you might get this analogy. The ones who do get it, you guys/gals are awesome!
At this recent Wrestlemania, Zack Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship. Yes, awesome! Fans were happy and excited, a good guy finally gets his due! 24 hours later, he loses that title on RAW. Sadness ensues.
K.J. McDaniels is Ryder. Oh sweet! McDaniels is in the starting lineup and it looks like the Rockets are going to use a lot of small ball! Nope, McDaniels starts and despite playing well only plays 15 minutes and only 4 in the second half.
"K.J.'s done a really good job for us so we'd give him the opportunity to be a part of that starting group," J.B. Bickerstaff said of McDaniels starting.
The Rockets in the final quarter decided to use a much bigger dose of Corey Brewer.
"Time and time again, Corey's made big plays for us in those situations," Bickerstaff said of Brewer playing the lion's share of the fourth.
Brewer has come through clutch in the past, but Wednesday night was just not his night. For whatever reason, the offense flowed a little better when McDaniels was in the game. They just gave him the hook too quick.
The Mavericks wanted it more
"They upped the physicality, they were very handsy, they did a very good job at keeping us out of our break," Bickerstaff said of the Mavericks down the stretch. "They jammed us in the backcourt, they smothered us in the backcourt, never got the opportunity to get the thrust we needed."
Wouldn't that be nice to hear an opposing coach say about a Rockets team? The Mavericks, all game long, made it hard for the Rockets. James Harden was not able to get his free runs to the basket. They closed out on three-point shooters, not many guys were able to get good open looks.
The Rockets, in a game they had to have, played the Mavericks' game. It was part good defense by the Mavericks and part the Rockets failing to find the right lineup that would allow them to run.
The Rockets were not able to get any good shots up in the closing minutes of the game, missing their last five shot attempts. A few bad jumpers from Brewer, and a few from Harden. With 29 second and the ball, Bickerstaff let the Rockets try and tie/win, the wrong move considering how the last few minutes had gone.
"They're gritty, they're tough, they're seasoned," Bickerstaff said of the Mavericks. Keep in mind Chandler Parsons is out and Deron Williams did not play.
Please no more
I am speaking just for me, although I feel like a bunch of you guys could be feeling the same way. This season has been like Bill Murray in "Groundhog day" the same stuff over and over and over again. No matter what you change or what you do, it's the same.
They get a good win they probably shouldn't, then they take a bad loss they shouldn't.
For the sake of the future. Sit Dwight Howard, sit James Harden and sit Trevor Ariza. Play Clint Capela, KJ McDaniels, and Montrezl Harrell (when his suspension is over) 30 minutes a night.
The Rockets' climb to just the eight seed will be a very large task with only four games left. Keep your first round pick, start tanking. If the Rockets can end the season on a five-game losing streak it might bump their chance to move up big time in the lottery. After all, if the basketball gods are kind and just, then this season will pay off in the offseason, maybe with ping-pong balls!