The Rockets, sitting at 4-3, look to fatten up their record this upcoming week, scheduled to face a trio of cream puffs. They will not lose to Denver again! In fact, out of Houston’s next 20 games, up until a December 19 matchup against the Clippers, only a pair against the Grizzlies stand as tough match-ups…and the Grizzlies may not even be that good anymore.
And look at this:
Despite their dreadful start, the Rockets are just a loss back of the 2-seed Blazers! Only the Warriors have distanced themselves from the pack. This is looking like it could play out like last year again.
But the season is about the long haul and the eventual goal of getting to the Finals. To that end, Houston needs to use this upcoming stretch to improve. While it’s great that the team has clawed its way back into the thick of the race, forgive me for not being impressed by eking out wins against a Cousins-less and Paul-less Kings/Clippers teams. Spare me the “they were without Motiejunas/Jones/Beverley” apologetics. Yes, those players are significant absences, but the two aforementioned stars constitute their entire teams’ identities. The Rockets are going to just have to improve in certain ways this month. Harden has been sensational, but as I’ve noted, that can’t be the end-all-be-all. And why even should it be? There are other weapons on this team. While the defensive lapses are forgivable given the injuries, there’s absolutely no logical reason why this offense should go in the tank when Harden is struggling.