The Houston Rockets are coming off a season long six-game road trip that didn't go as planned. The Rockets last three games of the trip were not close in the fourth quarter despite the return of Dillon Brooks, who had been out for several games. Yes, the competition ramped up with matchups against the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. No matter the competition, one thing was a constant during the road trip and that was the lack of defensive intensity and Houston reverting back to 2022-23 levels of shooting.
Rockets shooting fell off a cliff during the road trip
Coming into the season, the Rockets were one of if not worst shooting team in the league. Even though on paper it didn't seem Houston brought in a top shooter for most of the season, the Rockets were respectable from three-point range except during this six-game road trip.
Coming into the season-long road trip, the Rockets were shooting a respectable 37 percent from beyond the arc, which was 14th in the league. During the 1-5 road trip, the Rockets were the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, shooting a horrible 27.6 percent from beyond the arc. Part of it was the Rockets missing its best two shooters for majority of the road trip, but most of it was shots they were making to start the year not going in.
During the road trip, here are the percentages of the Rockets starters.
As you can see, the shooting was abysmal for the entire team outside of Reggie Bullock, who barely played, and Fred VanVleet, who actually shot above his career average during the road trip. Even worse, Jalen Green who shoots the most three-pointers per game at almost 7, only shot 22 percent during the road trip. Again, it doesn't matter how great your defense is, you wont win too many games in this day and age shooting under 30 percent as a team.
Green’s struggles were magnified on the road trip as the Rockets struggled to score on a consistent basis, and as I mentioned earlier, the Rockets were missing Brooks and Eason. Brooks did come back halfway through the trip but is still finding his shooting range, and Eason did not play at all in the six games. As we have seen with most teams when they are struggling on the offensive end, it can affect their defense.
Hopefully, it is just a slump that every team goes through at one point or another during the season and they can start to turn it around at home where they are a much better team. Even if they do start to turn it around, reports suggest the Rockets are looking to add shooting and a backup center before the trade deadline.
The Rockets take on the Utah Jazz on Saturday, a team supringsly in the playoff hunt in the number nine position, while the Rockets with their recent struggles have fallen to the 11th seed. Saturday is as good of a time as any to get the shot falling because the Jazz are 20th in three-point defense.
Another aspect that has been an issue lately is the Rockets’ three-point defense. The Rockets led or were near the top in three-point defense, but just like their shooting, it has disappeared recently. If the Rockets want to get back into the win column starting tomorrow, they will have to reverse both three-point trends, as the Jazz will not be an easy win.