Head coach Stephen Silas has probably figured out the cure for his debacles this season. The Houston Rockets are now 2-15 on the season after having their best game of the year. After taking some serious heat early Wednesday about potentially being released from his head coaching job, Silas came in all smiles before his pregame press conference. It was like the Rockets were 15-1, as he kept smiling and joking. Silas mentioned he was prepared for moments like this because his dad, Paul Silas, went through it as he was younger.
“You gotta understand this has been apart of my life since I was little, so there’s a couple of parts to it. There’s the piece that this is entertainment and this is so that people have something to talk about or people have something to argue about.” - Silas
I’m gonna do the things that I believe in, I’m gonna do them in a way that I feel is smart and away that is well thought through.”
Silas even mentioned the relationship between the Fertittas, coaching staff, locker room, Stone, and him are fine. He said:
“I feel like it. I haven’t been told any other way, and when you go through these streaks there’s a lot too it, and I’m ready for everything. I’m ready for us to continue to get better..”
Silas is an intelligent and nice coach, which includes his wizardry of Xs and Os. It has been hard for the Rockets to find their spacing throughout the season and make the right reads, but it felt accomplished after the win over the Chicago Bulls. Kevin Porter Jr. said:
“Getting off making the extra read. We have been praising that the last couple of games. I’m sure you guys see every time we got ball movement the flow of the game is much better, and everyone is touching it and everyone his happy.”
Silas added that it was great to see spacing amongst the players versus Chicago, which allowed better shooting opportunities and driving lanes. He said:
“Those guys spaced the floor well. It gave us more room to drive the ball well. It gave Scoot [Porter] more room to drive in the paint. And it helped our roll game well on the pick-and-roll. And they weren’t afraid to shoot it and I love them both for that.
“It feels good when you make 17 threes tonight. It looks a lot better. Shooting 47 percent instead of 25 percent. And, yeah, we were in our spacing shots. It looked a lot better cause we are making them. Its about us doing it the right way.”
Although the Rockets won Wednesday against the Bulls, they still have overcome the hole that was dug in the beginning of the season. Silas has juggled multiple players inside his game rotations, including with the starters.
As of Wednesday night, Daniel Theis did not play. Theis hasn’t looked fluent with the Rockets because of his lack of speed and athleticism. He isn’t as fast as Christian Wood nor as skilled as Alperen Sengun. Spacing became easier for the Rockets, including shooting. Wood felt there was more room on the court, which created more space. “Able to find shooters on the perimeter. Able to pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop,” Wood said.
what a look by the rook! pic.twitter.com/EJ7Kyr4Jdf— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 25, 2021
The Rockets are shooting 28. 1 percent from the three-point line and 39.5 percent amongst the field with 8.9 assist and 9.7 per turnovers contest, as Thies is on the court. He gives the Rockets a whopping -11.3 too. With Theis off the court, they are shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 34.2 percent at the three-point line, which includes -0.9 and 13.2 assists per game. As the stats show, the Rockets are better without Theis. Silas mentioned he has no idea if he will keep the starting five rotation and loves Theis’ professionalism. He said:
“It’s hard to say because it’s one game. Because there will be teams that will have bigger five and we’ll gave to kind of adjust. As far as having a set line up, I think its trending towards no and being more based on who we are playing”
“Its really tough. I really didn’t plan on doing it, but Alpe played so well. So, yeah, it’s super tough to not play Theis and that’s just part of it.”
Silas used a small ball lineup against the Bulls by putting Wood at the center position, which succeeded and looked much comfortable. The Rockets had 110.3 offensive and 104.6 defensive rating. They also shot the three-ball at 47.2 percent with a 50 percent field goal rating. The Rockets looked more fluent with the rotation they had tonight. Armoni Brooks, Garrison Matthews, and Kenyon Martin Jr. have finally got a chance to prove they are valuable in the rotation.
In two games, Brooks has shot the three-ball at 57.1 percent 7.0 attempts per game with 14.0 points per contest in 21 minutes. His offensive rating is a 109.6 with a 76.9 true shooting and 75.0 effective field goal percentage while going around screens and attacking on curl actions on offensive. Brooks has been a productive reliable sniper for the Rockets and should remain in the rotation after fighting for a spot since training camp.
Armoney Brooks gives us the lead! pic.twitter.com/KRMc1V6KPS— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 25, 2021
As noted, Martin and Matthews have looked good as role players on offense and defense by making the right play. Matthews had great game defensively versus the Bulls and has a 103.7 defensive rating on the rating on the season. Martin is great in transition (Per Synergy, he is getting 1.67 points per position and is in the 98th percentile(!)) and as a rim runner for the Rockets.
Sengun continues to look good and increase his upside in the NBA. He creates driving and passing lanes for his teammates and slowly increasing his scoring to 9.0 points per contest. Sengun is a becoming more confident from the three-point line by shooting 42.9 percent off 1.2 attempts per game. Wood mentioned that Sengun is good at making the right pass:
“He makes the right passes to guys. When he went post-up, he can get to his move, and he did that. He is very confident in his post ups and his ability to pass. It helps everybody because they know to cut off him, play off him. When he is in the game, we really run the offense through Alpe.”
Funny… because Silas said the same thing about Sengun.
On the closing note, Silas doesn’t seem worried about losing his job because he feels in control and knows what he is doing. He believes in coaching and doesn’t need approval from the outside world.
”I don’t need approval. I believe in what I do. I think I’m good at it. The players respond when I challenge them or coach them. Whether we won or lost tonight, I’m the same coach.”