Houston, TX- The Houston Rockets are playing pathetic right now and everybody in Houston knows it. Through the first two weeks of the NBA season,the Rockets have arguably been the league’s biggest disappointment.
Portland Trailblazers came to town Tuesday night and continued the onslaught that every other opponent has done to this team. Portland beat Houston 104-85 with 22 points from Damien Lillian's while Nurkic contributed with 22 points 10 reb. The Trailblazers had 48 points in the paint while shooting 47% from the field.
Houston is a major disaster and has no resemblance of the team that had NBA best record last season. The Rockets are struggling as a team around the rim. They rank 27th in field goal percentage at the rim far as layups and offensive put backs. They rank 24th in defensive rating after clawing their way into the top 10 last season, and the offense is even worse,ranking bottom five this year following an historically great campaign. They are at the bottom of Western Conference standings with a 1-5 record,tied for the fewest wins in the league. Rockets haven’t been competitive in any game at home, already matching last seasons total with 3 losses by at least 15 points. Houston held Portland, which was playing its fourth road game in six nights, to 19 points in first quarter and still trailed.
James Harden still dealing with strained left hamstring, the Rockets shot 32.3% from the floor, 23.3% from the 3pt line and 56.5% from the free throw line. Houston never held a lead over Portland and trailed by many as 28 points in the third quarter, which began with the Trailblazers making an 11-0 run to sink the Rockets.
Harden, Paul, and Eric Gordon have too good a track record to continue shooting a combined 40 percent on their 50 field-goal attempts per game. Anthony’s 3-point scoring (37.3 percent on 12.5 shots per game) should be in theory improve once Harden and Paul are both on the floor to help facilitate his attempts. Chris Paul had 17 pts 9 ast while Gordon had only 12 points shooting 2-8 from 3 point line. Capela had 14pts 14 rebs 3 blks continues to be an effective roll man, averaging around 15 points on 60 percent shooting. A progression toward their collective mean should translate into elite offense again.
“ I hate to talk about last year anymore because it’s gone, it’s not the same team, so we have to figure it out, just like we figured it out last year,”. P. J. Tucker, one of few Rockets whose defensive effort you can never question. Except, through six games last season, the Rockets were 5-1 and ranked top 10 (or a tenth of a point per 100 possessions away from it) in both offense and defense, showing the foundation of a team that would win 65 games. They lost six games by more than 10 points all of last season, and this year that number is already at four. Hopefully, the reigning MVP’s return to the lineup will mitigate some of that.