Suddenly, the Houston Rockets are incapable of scoring 100 points. They were under the century mark for the fourth consecutive game and shot 32 percent collectively as a team to offset a solid defensive effort and fall to the San Antonio Spurs 96-89.
James Harden led the way with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, but he was just 7-27 from the field and a downright ugly 1-13 from beyond the arc, and the Rockets had no one else step up. Chris Paul had just 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, in a full 40 minutes of action, and he shot just 4-13, missing numerous layups.
The Rockets did get 23 points from Eric Gordon, who returned from injury after missing several games with a sore hip, but his shooting woes continued also. EG finished just 10-26 from the field, and he was 3-14 from the three-point line.
After that, the Rockets got very little help. P.J. Tucker finished with just 3 points, James Ennis had just a single, while Gerald Green also finished with just 1 point and left the game with a right ankle sprain and played only 7 minutes.
Camelo Anthony didn’t play due to till illness, and there we no other scorers on the floor, and it was also reported tonight that Melo’s future with the team in currently in doubt. No idea exactly yet what that means, but it sounds like the Rockets are having second thoughts about his signing, though it needs to be said that the Rockets’ problems run much deeper than Melo.
While Carmelo Anthony is absent with an illness tonight against the Spurs, the Rockets and Anthony are discussing his role and how they might still be able to proceed together for the rest of the season, league sources tell ESPN. Talks are fluid.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2018
Clint Capela was the lone bright spot tonight, going for 12 points, 17 boards, and 2 blocked shots, though even he was just 4-9 from the field in a game in which the Rockets again just couldn’t make a shot. They were also just 9-41 from deep, in another pitiful display of shooting.
The Spurs were led by Lamarcus Aldridge, who finished with 27 points and 10 boards, and they also got 14 from Derrick White, 13 from DeMar DeRozan, and 13 from Bryn Forbes. The Spurs weren’t great tonight, shooting just 44 percent themselves, they were just less terrible than the Rockets.
Houston doesn’t have much time to lick their wounds, as they head back to the Toyota Center to play Indiana tomorrow night on a back-to-back, but they better snap out of the early season funk that has them at just 4-7 before the season gets away from them.
With rumors of Melo’s release and Jimmy Butler not riding in on a white horse to save the season, the Rockets are going to have to figure this thing out on their own. We’re about to see what they are made of and if they can turn this early-season malaise into something positive or if it’s going to sink the year before it even really got started.