The Rockets got trapped on Wednesday night by the Utah Jazz who do the league’s best job of dissuading opposing teams from taking threes. Utah is tied for a league best mark with opponents attempting only 23 threes a game and the league’s second best mark of allowing only 8.2 made threes a game.
Houston lost a disappointing game to their Western Conference rivals while making just 8 threes on 32 attempts. The red and yellow boys have been averaging 14.6 makes on 40.4 attempts per game.
With the playoffs around the corner, the smart money is on the Rockets taking more threes than ever before. It’s both the best and only chance they stand to beat the Golden State Warriors.
And before the Rockets start gunning away in the playoffs the regular season has predetermined that it’s impossible for the Rockets to win when their shooting goes ice cold.
When the Rockets make less than 10 threes in a contest this season, like against the Jazz, they’re winless with a mark of 0 - 5.
Game 1: Loss to Los Angeles Lakers. Rockets shoot 7 of 29, 24.1% from three.
Game 29: Loss to San Antonio Spurs. Rockets shoot 6 of 38, 15.8% from three.
Game 44: Loss to Miami Heat. Rockets shoot 9 of 39, 23.1% from three.
Game 46: Loss to Golden State Warriors. Rockets shoot 7 of 35, 20% from three.
Game 65: Loss to Utah Jazz. Rockets shoot 8 of 32, 25% from three.
It’s a small sample. The Rockets have had an outstanding season thus far, but also found many ways to lose games other than shooting poorly from three.
The loss to Utah and the four poor shooting performances preceding it serve as an omen. As the playoffs approach, Houston’s threes will have to fall for them to win. Good defenses who focus on chasing them away from the three point line or are able to disrupt their shooting will give James Harden and company fits.