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Rockets vs. Bulls game thread: Gut check time

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Are the Rockets spiraling or just sputtering?

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

AK said it best in today’s preview: tonight is about Yao Ming. No. 11 is going up to the rafters, and the ceremony should be filled with happiness and humor, because that’s what Yao fills us with.

But the game matters.

The Rockets are in a funk, and last night’s demoralizing loss did nothing to engender confidence in Rockets fans. Talk of a soft February schedule only makes it more frustrating when the Rockets lose winnable games when they’re supposed to be making up for their January swoon. The only comfort right now is the fact that the Clippers are losing games just as quickly.

Nene is out, as the Rockets felt it appropriate to honor Yao by having a center miss the game for injury concerns (sorry). Clint Capela gets the start against the Bulls’ frontline, and he better have a big game. If he does, and two or more of Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon and Sam Dekker can get hot from deep, the Rockets will win.

Two or more of those guys getting hot in the same game is happening less and less often. That’s a bad trend that one can only hope reverses itself tonight.