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Rockets dive into 20-point hole, bury themselves in 108-99 loss to Hornets


Houston Rockets v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

It won’t be a happy flight home for the Rockets tonight after their 108-99 loss to the Hornets in Charlotte.

The score looks a lot closer than how it felt. The Hornets scored 20 points in the first quarter before the Rockets even got on the scoreboard, and it was an uphill battle the entire game for the Rockets.

Even without Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon, there simply isn’t any excuse for this poor play that we’ve seen over the past three games.

The Rockets were able to cut their deficit from 20 to three early in the second quarter, but the team never held the lead. Every time the Rockets tried to sniff the lead, the Hornets would pull away.

The team had no answer for the Hornets’ backcourt. Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham combined for 47 points and 10-17 shooting from distance.

James Harden notched a triple-double with 30 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds but also tacked on 10 of the team’s 20 turnovers.

I do believe that the small-ball system isn’t as effective with Westbrook off the court. It’s amazingly effective when he is playing as he’s the primary driver for the Rockets. Harden’s more of an outside scorer who goes inside to draw fouls, but when the calls don’t go in his favor, it leads to turnovers.

The loss for the team today is absolutely frustrating. You would think that the Knicks’ loss would be a wakeup call, and then you would think the Clippers’ loss would be the wakeup call. When will the Rockets wake up? When will the six-game winning streak Rockets come back?

They are running out of time. If they don’t come back soon, it’ll be too late.

The Rockets head home to face the Magic tomorrow night. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.