The Rockets need their offense to wake up, and they need it to wake up yesterday.
Three years ago, Houston started off poorly on both ends of the court. And despite the repeated refrains of “It will normalize” and “Regression to the mean is coming,” the Rockets never really recovered during J.B. Bickerstaff’s season (give or take 11 games) in charge.
We’re hearing a lot of that again now. Houston is missing more wide open threes than could be reasonably expected. They’re missing layups at a rate that the numbers say shouldn’t happen. Here’s the thing though: analytics help you in the margins, but they cannot make up for missing open shots. Analytics can’t make layups for you. Eric Gordon is hurt, and maybe Chris Paul is too, and that could explain a lot of it, but that can’t be all of it.
This Houston team lost one major piece (Trevor Ariza) from last year’s team and two minor pieces (Ryan Anderson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) that were hurt for big chunks of the season. The nuts and bolts from the team that took the greatest team of all-time to the brink of defeat is large intact. Yet they look unrecognizable to anyone watching. They had better wake up, or the 41-41 record of the Bickerstaff season might be too lofty a goal.
The Rockets are better than they’ve shown. If the offense does find its sweet spot, all bets are off. And the defense has absolutely improved after the atrocity that was the opening week of the season. Jeff Bzdelik will get a lot of the credit, but it’s important to remember that the Rockets have looked better since before his un-retirement.
Anyway, the Rockets will play the San Antonio Spurs tonight. San Antonio is 6-4 on the season and integrating new pieces of their own while moving on from the cornerstones of their franchise. Oh, and they’re surviving at 6-4 without the player pegged as their starting point guard, Dejounte Murray.
San Antonio lost their two most recent games to the Florida teams, with the most recent loss to Miami leading to Gregg Popovich calling the Spurs “soft.” So get ready for a pissed of Spurs squad to come out and beat up on the anemic Rockets offense. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge already kill the Rockets, and now they have even more reason to go all-out. This one could get ugly in the first quarter.
Prediction: Game is over by halftime, ending in a 122-85 Spurs win.
Tip-off is at 7:30pm CT on NBA TV