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Rockets lose annoying one to Heat 111-108

Rockets losses are my beat, evidently.

Miami Heat v Houston Rockets
Growing Into His Game
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Tonight the Rockets lost to a depleted Miami Heat team 111-108. This was an annoying loss for a number of reasons. Because I’m annoyed, you’re getting Bullet Points - The Lazy Man’s Friend(tm).


This was a paradoxical game. The Rockets played badly enough to lose for much of it AND they played well enough to win. The refs were terrible, AND the Rockets shot a lot of free throws.


I’m tired of being the one that gets game coverage for Rockets losses, even when they were on a home winning streak. It’s random, and yet, it’s not. I will note that starting to win games frequently at home, to my belief, is how teams often start showing improvement. Only really good teams dominate on the road, but decent teams, I think, start winning at home first. Some research shows that role players definitely play better at home, so maybe that’s it.

Maybe I should stay away from recaps, though.


We’re now at the point where Rockets losses annoy me when they should be wins. Sure, people can shout “Wemby! Wemby! My beloved Victor!” but please, keep the NBA’s anti-tanking odds in mind. Nobody has a great chance at Wemby, even if they have the worst record. The Rockets could lose 60 games and pick fifth.


I don’t like the Miami Heat. I admire them in many ways, but I don’t like them. Why? I generally hate “Can’t call ‘em all!” teams. They remind me of something disgusting, vile, and terrible: Jerry Sloan’s Utah Jazz.

That style means a team has deliberately adopted a plan of breaking rules as much as they can possibly get away with. It’s effective, but distasteful, especially when such teams brag about it.

Please don’t tell me “It’s Heat Culture!”. That’s just more Florida anti-rationality drivel covering up a deliberate plan to obfuscate things like “the tides” so more condos can be sold. How can a team that plays as soundly, that does everything, even with deep reserve players, in such an effective and coherent manner, spend all their time fouling by accident? It’s simply not possible in a team so disciplined and well-coached. It’s too much to believe they’re that disciplined, and do as they’re taught all the time, except all the times they foul people.

Eric Spoelstra is underrated for many reasons, but I can say that without a doubt, his acting is deeply under appreciated. It’s like he’s King Lear, learning the true depths of his betrayal and devastation - each and every game. Simply masterful, Olivier couldn’t have done better.


The Rockets shot 35 free throws, so it was a well-reffed game, nothing to complain about, right? Nope. It was a poorly reffed game. The Rockets should probably have shot 65 free throws. Yes, that’s really boring, it’s not a good entertainment product. Whose fault is that? Miami’s. Not the Rockets, and the refs culpability only comes in when it’s clear that there’s an upper limit to what will be called.


The Rockets also managed to lose this quite nicely on their own. They didn’t play simple defense on Herro - like never leave him, just let some G-League rando shoot a floater instead. Really, do that instead of giving up 41 to Tyler. If he’s as hot as he was, take a page from The Big Book O’ Heat Culture and maul him play physical so much he can’t catch a pass. I promise, Tari can do that.

The Rockets came out lackadaisical, still got a lead, and then downshifted. That happened a lot with the peak Harden Rockets. Those teams usually got their asses back in gear and won. This team can’t, for a lot of reasons. Mainly, they don’t know how to play well enough. When they do turn on the energy, when they do make games a track meet, they have a chance to win nearly every contest. It’s ugly, and chaotic, but it works. It might have worked tonight, but didn’t, quite.


TyTy Washington played instead of Daishen Nix. TyTy looked like a guy getting his first significant NBA minutes, but he still made crisper reads and better decisions than Nix. His passes didn’t just float their way to defenders. Please, let this trend continue. I never, ever, want to see the Rockets beautiful second unit ruined by two AAAA players on the court at the same time again.

If this development is permanent, it might be the most important thing to come out of this game.


Why can no Rocket actually pass on the break, with numbers? This can be taught. I’ve seen it taught. It can be done. Why didn’t the Rockets run an old (they played Udonis Haslem, who is literally old enough to be the dad of most Rockets without it being weird) Miami team on a back to back out of the gym? THIS TEAM DOESN’T HAVE FAT SMOKING OUT OF SHAPE LUKA ON IT. RUN. RUN. RUN.


The NBA coaches’ challenge and video review process is incoherent and broken.


In the immortal words of Homer Simpson day you may achieve something that we Simpsons Rockets fans have dreamed about for generations two and a half seasons. You may outsmart someone.

Homer Simpson in “Bart The Genius”

Rockets were outsmarted tonight, and nearly won anyway.



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