One contender leaves Toyota Center, and another arrives to immediately fill the gap.
There is no joy in H-Town today, as the Houston Rockets must brush off a difficult loss to the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves and welcome in the Milwaukee Bucks. This homestand has not been much fun for the good guys as they sit at 2-4 so far. After tonight, they will take their show back on the road for a six-game trip. That’s the longest one remaining, though there are four more trips of three or more games after that one. Maybe one day we’ll get to play the Blazers eight (all numbers approximate) straight times like the Mavericks have.
Much of Houston’s success will depend on the health of Dillon Brooks. That’s not true of just tonight, but clearly for the entire season. While the team desperately needed a good point guard to run the offense and feed Alperen Sengun, the defensive intensity feels like it can be traced back to Brooks. He may have been the butt of a lot of jokes in the offseason (“Why did Houston pay $80 million to a player who was headed to China?”), but like Fred VanVleet, Brooks has proven to be worth the contract he signed. Do I wish the Rockets had been stingier with their money? Sure. But some teams pay the “No one wants to live there” tax (Utah, Cleveland, Indy, etc.) and others pay the “We’re not good” tax (Detroit, Washington, Charlotte, etc.). Houston wasn’t a great landing spot this past offseason, so the Rockets had to overpay to get their two shiny new pieces. The hope is that a return to relevancy will make that part easier, but the culture change has been worth it.
Plus, you know, it’s not my money.
How to Watch
Space City Home Network
Dillon Brooks-GTD (abdominal)
Tari Eason-GTD (leg)
Jae Crowder-OUT (adductor and abdominal)
The Line (as of this post)
Looking ahead because we can
Monday in Miami