Although the first half looked strong for the Rockets, the team ultimately received an F on their exam, losing 124-115.
Last night’s game continued many of the same current storylines the team is facing, creating some patterns.
Russell Westbrook Is Very Good
For the third time in the past five games, Westbrook led the Rockets in scoring and he has been the team’s best player in the month of January. He’s averaging 30 points per game this month while shooting 50 percent.
Last night, Russ scored a team-high 35 on 15-23 shooting. There are times where Russ makes silly mistakes, but we are seeing improved decision-making from him lately, especially when it comes to dishing it out to the open man.
When Harden is double-teamed, Westbrook turns on the jets and finds the open man. That will be crucial in the second half of the season and beyond.
The Lakers Are Very, Very, Very Good
The Rockets played one of their best halves of basketball in a long time in the first half, and the Lakers were only down six points going into the locker room. They deserve a ton of credit for that. You can see why they are the best team in the West.
LeBron James sets the tone and the role players follow suit. When it wasn’t LeBron, it was Kyle Kuzma. If it wasn’t Kuzma, it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. If it wasn’t KCP, it was Danny Green. The Lakers had so many playmakers and they have so many ways in which they can beat you.
Oh yeah, and Anthony Davis was not even playing. That’s got to be scary if you are the Rockets.
They weren’t able to continue their fantastic first half in the second and the Lakers put their foot on the gas.
The Rockets Need To Make a Change
My dad always told me, “If you do the same thing, you will get the same results.”
It’s possible that I could be overreacting as the Rockets are in their worst five-game stretch of the season. There is still an entire half-season to be played.
However, last night was the test to see how they compare to the best team in the league. And despite having homecourt advantage and the luxury of not having the Lakers’ best player in the game, the Rockets still took the L.
The Rockets cannot claim to be contenders at this point. Even though they sit just three games back of the #2 seed, they currently find themselves sixth in the Western Conference. A change needs to be made.
The Rockets have nobody that can contain LeBron nor AD, and that leaves the role players who could all make a splash at any given time. The current configuration of the Rockets would be lucky to win more than one game against this team in a seven-game series.
It’s time to look for some upgrades on the wing and down low to try and defend the inevitable offensive onslaught that will come in the playoffs from the Lakers or from whomever.
Don’t fight fire with fire. The better teams will win, and that is not the Rockets.