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The 29th man appears, as Rockets fall to Blazers 140-129

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Some things to like.

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets
From the Other Time Cam Oliver Was A Rocket
Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

So the Rockets are watchable.

They aren’t a winning team, but they’re not a chore to watch. They can’t play a lick of defense, and God knows they can’t protect the paint, especially not against beefy centers, but they’re not a misery to behold.

The Rockets are also, basically, a GLeague team, with a couple of old NBA stagers in Kelly Olynyk and DJ Augustin looking to stick around, get a deal, and be relevant somewhere.

Sure, there are a couple of promising rookies, and a ton of NBA teams would very much like to have Christian Wood on his deal, when he’s available, but mostly, right now, they’re a GLeague team.

Guess what? The GLeague guys will run Stephen Silas’ stuff, the ball moves, the shots fly. It mostly works. With no practice. With no roster continuity whatsoever. Sure, you have to make an open shot now and again (a chronic Rockets ailment), but if you do, the opponent better be on their shooting game or risk being outscored by No One In Particular.

The Rockets, in their last five games, have scored: 97, 115, 133, 116, 129. Those aren’t wins, mind you, but the Rockets also broke an NBA record for the number of different players appearing for the team, at 29. It seems possible they might hit 30. Continuity it ain’t. But they’re using GLeague guys, and they’re scoring the ball.

Wait a minute, though. This is the end of the season, opponents don’t care. That’s probably true, to an extent, but most of their recent opponents needed to beat the Rockets for various reasons. The Trailblazers certainly did, to avoid The Dreaded Play In Slot. The Rockets are by far the easiest of their closing opponents.

By the way, I’m finding the Play In, and the drama surrounding it, a delight. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Why shouldn’t the 7th and 8th seeds, usually nothing more than a sacrificial victim (and possibly an NBAtv playoff game), be the subject of some sort of interest?

Anyhow, the Rockets had a weird game. They gave up 50pts to Portland in a beyond hot shooting first quarter for both teams. It’s rare that a team scores 33pts in a quarter and gets its butt kicked, but that happened tonight. The subsequent three quarters, the Rockets gave as good as they got, or better. Not much comfort, but it shows effort. (Guys on 10 day contracts tend to show a LOT of effort.)

Portland got the win it needed, but it wasn’t easy. The Rockets showed something, and more important, I think Stephen Silas has demonstrated that there’s something there. This Rockets team loses pretty much constantly, but it’s not a disgrace.

There’s hope for better days.

Poll

How are you and the Play In getting along?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    We’re engaged.
    (44 votes)
  • 6%
    We’re only communicating through our lawyers.
    (7 votes)
  • 23%
    We lead separate lives, but never fight.
    (25 votes)
  • 27%
    We’re doing better than Bill Gates, ok?
    (29 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now