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Rockets lose uninspiring game to Thunder 101-89

Down in the Dort

Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder
Better, if alone.
Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

This game the recap will be by quarters, seeing if there are any points of interest in those quarters for Rockets fans. I know I said I’d do a poem, but tonight turns out to be busier than I thought, so no poem tonight.

I also am contemplating adding recipes to the recaps, if the Rockets don’t start looking better soon.

DO NOT PLAY A DRINKING GAME WHERE YOU DRINK WHENEVER THE ROCKETS TURN THE BALL OVER. Please. I beg you.

First Quarter (with apologies to The Specials)

This town...is coming up a ghost town.

Crowds don’t cheer no more.

Too much tanking on the gym floor.

This place... is looking like a ghost town.

Teams don’t score no more.

Too much bricking of the jump shots.

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?

They danced and sang and music played in Okie boom town.

Remember when OKC crowds were super into it, even if it mostly seemed like it was the first basketball game they ever attended, and maybe they were wondering why no one wore shoulder pads? Those days are gone for now.

Two turnovers in two minutes? Check!

Can House make anything? Anything at all? I feel a bit bad for House, but he’s just not playable right now.

As the quarter moves on, Jalen Green comes to life, making shots, intercepting alley oops about 15 feet up, and moving confidently.

The quarter ends with OKC up 22-19. This game is in easy reach right now, if only the Rockets didn’t turn it over 8 times in the quarter.

We saw some good ball movement, and also, more Rockets overthinking. Passing up open shots to make an unexpected pass leading to a turnover. Overpassing.

General goat of the Rockets fans, Daniel Theis comes in and plays well.

Second Quarter

The Rockets make a lot of passes from the corners (rather than TO the corners) and from under the basket. You might not be surprised to learn these passes often result in turnovers. Almost no one comes to help in these situations, or dives to the rim when a ballhandler gets doubled.

This is an ugly, disjointed game. There’s not a single Rockets rotation that repeats, and so it’s hard to get any consistency. Garrison Matthews is getting a lot of minutes, and what he mainly seems to be able to do is get in front of Pokusevski who can’t stop in time not to run into him for a charge. He seems to know how to play, which is also nice.

Sengun, who didn’t play in the first quarter, enters in the second, and continues to pass well, and get himself into trouble against real NBA bigs, like Favors, who IS playing.

House continues to go for highlight reel dunks. Continues to miss them. 0-5 in 11 minutes.

The Rockets can’t get out of their own way for much of the quarter, and neither can OKC, but they’re managing to have just a few better possessions, and with 3:06 left in the half, are up by nine, 40-31.

Yes. That’s the score at nearly the half. It’s hard to tell which team is playing down to which. Silas does call a timeout when the Rockets get down 9, which seems better than letting OKC score 20 straight, like Memphis did.

Unfortunately Gilgeous-Alexander seemed to have discovered the Rockets can’t protect the rim.

More Rockets misses lead to OKC shooting some unlikely threes, and extending their lead to 53-41 at the half.

Third Quarter

More of the same. Rockets playing disorganized basketball, Thunder playing slightly more organized basketball.

Right now I simply can’t figure out Silas’ rotations. If you want to get some consistency, want to establish order, maybe put out all the veterans at once. Gordon, Wood, Theis, Augustin, and Tate. Those guys can probably beat OKC.

Instead we get 21 Matthews minutes and literally zero Josh Christopher minutes, even though he seems like the only player with the possibility of stopping Lu Dort from just walking to the basket. (I think if Dort is scoring, you aren’t defending.) Matthews was certainly trying, and doing generally good things, but might simply suffer from not really being an NBA level player.

Fourth Quarter

Rockets get down more, comeback, get down, come back, and never really get close enough to threaten. Sorry, it’s just difficult to say more. I can’t tell what they’re trying to do, or improve, or build right now.

In some good news, Jalen Green looked a lot better as a primary ball-handler. Maybe swap his role with Porter Jr, let Porter Jr. play off ball? This was one of Green’s best games yet in terms of looking like an NBA player. 21pts on 6-13 shooting, and 3 boards, an assist, a steal, and only one turnover.

The Thunder seemed absolutely prepared to give this game to the Rockets, but the Rockets wouldn’t let them.

Onwards?

Poll

Sentiment-O-Meter 4

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Up
    (5 votes)
  • 13%
    Down
    (22 votes)
  • 6%
    Unch
    (10 votes)
  • 40%
    Ugh
    (67 votes)
  • 37%
    South, to Dallas!
    (62 votes)
166 votes total Vote Now