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Latest loss feels familiar - Rockets fall to Knicks

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Lather. Repeat. There’s No Rinse.

Houston Rockets v New York Knicks
Save us, Scream, you’re our only hope!
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Stop me if you’ve read this before.

The Rockets get down early, a product of inept offense, and hot shooting from an opponent. Then as the game goes forward, maybe in the second quarter, maybe in the third, the Rockets claw their way back. The lead, usually between 15-20 points, narrows to five to seven points. Things are looking hopeful!

Then come the turnovers and wasted possessions. Usually two or three turnovers, or an offensive foul, or a misguided attempt at the basket. The things the Rockets WERE doing, to claw their way back in? They stop doing those things. The team deflates as the opponent maybe makes a basket.

Then the collapse. The opponent, sensing a deflated Rockets team, one tired from the exertion of coming back, night after night, starts scoring. Within minutes the lead is back into double digits, and growing.

Nothing seems to help, the Rockets, who rely on intensity, toughness, lose those things in discouragement. It’s hard to blame them, but who else is there to blame?

Do you need to know the specifics of this particular loss? That the Knicks shot great from three point range, that not one, but two, players had the shooting performance of their careers?

Tonight it was Immanuel Quickley, who might be a real prospect, or might not, but it makes little difference, as he’s playing the Rockets, so will shoot 4-6 from three, and 7-9 overall. The Rockets third quarter comeback fell apart as he couldn’t miss. making three in a row from deep.

Reggie Bullock also went three for five from three, as you’d expect, and Derrick Rose played like it was 2011 again for 20 minutes.

The Rockets meanwhile can’t shoot, even a little, as a team. 8-43 from three isn’t going to win games. Being a team that struggles to break 100 points is doom in the modern NBA. It’s just not likely the Rockets will be able to hold a team to 12 points below league average scoring, no matter how hard they try.

There is hope, however, in the form of Christian Wood. I’ve said before that Wood’s numbers are simply not replaced in the Rockets lineup. Demarcus Cousins played 22 minutes. You’d expect him to play about 15. So how much is he adding that he wouldn’t add anyway, with Wood in the lineup? Three points? A rebound or two? Two fouls?

So losing Wood isn’t like losing, say, a 6’5” guy, who can really be replaced fairly well from team depth. There IS no depth at center, as there is no depth at PG. It’s just a loss of, let’s say, 15pts and 5 rebounds, because the guys who ARE getting Christian Wood’s looks barely make any.

Would a net +15pts and +5 rebounds help?

Meanwhile, PJ Tucker can’t hit from the corner, and treats the ball like poison if it finds him anywhere else. Danuel House is apparently a bricklayer, because it’s all bricks, all the time, right now.

The only bright spots are Eric Gordon, and John Wall, when he realizes the team needs him to create for everyone. It’s not a surprise he’s only hitting his catch and shoots, that’s all he’s been practicing, really, for two years.

It’s possible Wall and Cousins will improve as the season goes along. They’ve been away a long time, and the only substitute for games is games, unless you’re a certain 7’1” SF.

It’s possible the Rockets won’t be a horrible team if they can actually get their team on the court together. Who knows? We don’t.

This odd year, with a play in spot, will let any team that goes on a winning streak have a shot at the playoffs. It could still go that way.

The Rockets prospects are getting reps in Orlando, and will probably join the team after that.

Meanwhile, the losing continues.

Poll

What now?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    More of the same.
    (42 votes)
  • 7%
    They’ve got to shoot it better, sometime, right?
    (16 votes)
  • 53%
    Nothing changes until Wood returns.
    (120 votes)
  • 14%
    Low key tanking that probably doesn’t work.
    (33 votes)
  • 5%
    An infestation of Dallasites?
    (12 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now