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Rockets fall to Mavericks 116-106 in decidedly non-epic clash

It was fine.

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Tonight the Rockets were defeated by Dallas 116-106 in Dallas’ home opener, where the crowd was definitely into the game. Or the possibility of free chicken. It was hard to tell at times. They were happy to see their team it seemed, and also apparently willing to assume these were the James Harden Rockets. and thus a worthy opponent.

It was a happy occasion for them, so no one tell them the only Rockets left from those days are Eric Gordon, Danuel House and in some fashion, Gerald Green. Let them have this moment.

Houston is, in fact, rebuilding and is routinely playing teenagers, and other players who can’t rent a car without a deposit. Kevin Porter Jr can, however, legally buy a drink if he’s out with a former teammate who needs defending because he gets into the wrong car when departing.

This game was closer for most of it than it had any right to be. Houston lead by three at the half. One imagines the hair dryer turned on the Mavericks by their coach Jason Kidd at halftime was hot and loud. The Mavericks came out fired up, and the Rockets came out determined to take terrible shots, if they hadn’t thrown the ball away first.

Partly this is just the difference between experience and being a first year pro. These are things the Rockets will hopefully learn before the season is out.

Seeing this Dallas team is a bit like seeing a worse version of the Rockets of a few years ago. Luka Doncic is fantastic. He can carry a team to the playoffs himself. It’s fine to build a team that way. It can work. If you do, the other players need to complement your superstar, do things he doesn’t do, or create enough on their own that he can rest occasionally.

Without dwelling too much on the Mavericks, there don’t seem to be many players on the roster that really do that. The main problem is Porzingis, who mustered 9pts on 2-10 shooting before going out with what appears to be yet another injury. Hardaway is a useful player, and if was truly the third option, rather than the second, things would be better for Dallas.

All this to say - Dallas really needs Eric Gordon. The problem is, Dallas doesn’t have a good set of salaries to match up for Gordon. The only thing that probably makes sense from Dallas’ point of view would be Porzingis for Gordon, House and Augustin (plus picks coming to the Rockets). But while that’s great for Dallas, why would Houston want three years of Porzingis’ $30+ million? Another skinny tall guy who can’t protect the rim seems suboptimal, unless a third team wanted him.

Anyhow, looking at the game -

It was a better game for Effectively Rookie Point Guard Kevin Porter Jr.

It was a worse game for Jalen Green.

It was a great game for Eric Gordon.

It was a good game for Christian Wood.

It was an odd game for Alperen Sengun.

Coach Silas’ lineup decisions are puzzling, and speak more to a man simply trying different combinations as opposed to really responding to the Rockets opponent. That’s fine, but I would like to see the man coach a bit more. Get a bit fiery when Rockets are getting hacked, and generally do the talking to the refs.

The rebuilding season rolls onward. The Rockets don’t look terrible, they play hard. Signs of improvement are there. Really, truly, don’t read too much into any one game, let alone quarter or possession. It means very little in the long term.

Speaking of referees, here’s a new feature.

Jalen Green Free Throw Watch Update 10/26/21

Games: 4

Minutes: 130

Shot Attempts: 59

Points: 58

Free Throw Attempts: 0

Poll

Rebuild thoughts?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Moving ahead steadily.
    (92 votes)
  • 9%
    Not moving ahead steadily.
    (21 votes)
  • 10%
    I still can’t stop thinking every play matters, and the Rockets need every win they can get.
    (22 votes)
  • 36%
    Luka is probably the only Maverick I’d actually want.
    (76 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now