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Rockets three-point shooting has fallen off of a cliff

The Rockets have been the worst three-point shooting team in the league over the last 10 games.

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Last night’s 124-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs had a familiar tone to it. The Houston Rockets again had a rough third quarter where they seemed to lack focus and didn't play with much intensity. The Rockets actually led at the half by one point and then the wheels fell off. In the third, the Rockets only scored 14 points and could never dig out of the 17-point hole they found themselves in.

The reason they fell into that hole has been something that has plagued them over the last 10 games plus and that is three-point shooting. The Rockets are a combined 8-for-53 from beyond the arc the last two games and are the worst team in the league over the last 10 games from three-point range at 26.5 percent. That is a full four percent worse then the 29th-ranked team during that time.

The first 20 games, the Rockets were actually trending in the right direction from the arc at 35.6 percent, which was at the time 16th in the NBA, but as the numbers above indicate, the Rockets have struggled mightily to get the ball in the basket. There are only four players on the entire team even shooting over 30 percent the last 10 games, with Garrison Mathews leading the way at 36.4 percent.

The Rockets’ backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are shooting 19.3 and 25 percent respectively over the last 10 games from three-point range. The lack of shooting takes a toll on any team’s morale, especially a team as young as the Rockets. Kevin Porter Jr. stated this fact after last night’s loss.

“Last game, we didn’t shoot the ball well, so everybody wanted to shoot the ball well tonight. It took a toll on us mentally. They just ran away with it.”

Stephen Silas echoed that sentiment.

“A lot of it was (the reaction) to the adversity. We got down on ourselves. We were missing shots. And as a result, we let go of the rope a little bit tonight and that was disappointing.”

The lack of shooting starts to affect every part of a team’s game, from rebounding to getting back on defense, and that showed in the second half for the Rockets. The Spurs started to pull away as it seemed they had zero fear of the Rockets beating them from deep, which led to them playing loose on the offensive end.

When it comes to why the Rockets have struggled recently from deep, it is a combination of reasons. The Rockets’ early season schedule of constant road travels can not be understated. But that's not the only reason for the lack of shooting. The Rockets’ ball movement can look great at times and on other occasions look like a version of your turn/ my turn. The last statement is something Green mentioned after the Rockets’ loss to the Blazers as something he noticed during the game. He said:

“We were just playing streetball out there. We weren’t playing together no more. We didn’t have no fight. Just an energy drop.”

As I mentioned earlier, when teams start to brick shots one after another, other areas of the game seem to not be as important, and ball movement is one of them, something that was on full display in the third quarter in the latest Spurs loss.

The Rockets are a very young team, as everyone has pointed out time after time. You will see stretches like this from any team, especially a team still trying to find their identity. The thing to watch about this particular bad stretch of shooting is how the Rockets respond compared to previous seasons where they would go into a 20-game free fall in not just shooting but in winning games.

The Rockets can show their improvement in that area starting tomorrow night when they take on Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic at the Toyota Center.