The first quarter set the tone for the Rockets for rest of the game.
Houston came out of the gate struggling to hit anything. After one, the Rockets were 5-of-26 from the field, 1-of-9 from three, for 15 total points. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s 19% and 11% respectively.
Luckily for Houston, Portland was on the second night of a back-to-back road trip game, and the Rockets were actually playing defense. They held the Blazers to only 19 points on 38% shooting from the field.
That was probably the last good thing that happened for the Rockets.
The game stayed close until the Blazers went on a 15-3 run near the end of the second quarter. Portland went into the break up 51-36 on the Rockets, and they came into the third quarter looking to smother Houston. The lead would climb all the way up to 28 and stay in that range until the Trail Blazers decided to pull their starters and let the bench take care of the rest.
Chris Paul didn’t look like himself, going 6-of-19 from the field to lead the team with 17 points and nine assists. Clint Capela had a solid game with 14 points (6-11 FG) and 14 rebounds, but he shot an abysmal 2-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Free-throw line struggles were a common theme for Houston this game. The team shot 56.5% from the line, making only 13 out of 23 attempts. Still, it couldn’t possibly overshadow the fact that they went 31-of-96 from the field, 10-of-43 from deep, for 32.3% and 23.3% respectively.
The scoring help for the Rockets didn’t show up either.
All game long, Carmelo Anthony took difficult contested shots, a good amount from mid-range to deep two-point range. He scored only 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting. Eric Gordon’s struggles continued, scoring only 12 points on 4-18 shooting, 2-8 from deep. Gerald Green: 1-10 from the field, 1-9 from three- three points.
You get the point.
Injuries continue to plague Houston with James Harden and James Ennis III in suits for yet another game.
The good news is that the Rockets don’t have to play again until Friday. The bad news is that it’s game one of a back-to-back, and it’s the start of a five-game road trip, ending with a three-game stretch against Indiana, OKC, and San Antonio.
Now sitting at 1-5 overall, the Rockets need to get some wins fast, or the season might spiral out of control.