The brutal January schedule continues for the Rockets tonight as they visit the City of Brotherly Love in the second half of yet another back-to-back. The Rockets hope to snap a two game losing skid; however, the 76ers also have a much worse five game losing streak they hope ends tonight.
The Rockets had been playing their best basketball of the season as they had won five in a row before dropping the last two in lackluster fashion. The schedule is seemingly to blame as it is starting to take its toll on the run and gun Rockets. Field goal percentage is down below 45 percent the last two games, ball movement has been slowed to a crawl at times and even their free throw shooting is suffering as last night’s 41 percent (12-29) can attest to.
The Rockets may have one of the youngest teams in the league but even young players have their endurance limit. It may be time to increase the player rotation for the next few games in order for all the players to have fresher legs for the long haul especially since the Rockets still have 11 games remaining in January and will play in a different city in all of those games.
While the Rockets are in the middle of the toughest part of their schedule, the 76ers just ended their rough stretch, and they did not fare well. At the beginning of December, the 76ers were 10-6 and in the middle of the playoff hunt, but after going 4-11 in December and 1-5 to start the New Year, they find themselves four games back of the final playoff spot with a 15-22 record. Add that to the fact the Sixers’ prime offseason acquisition , Andrew Bynum, still does not have a time table for a return this season (if he is even able to return this season) and one can see there is not much going well for the Sixers right now. The only silver lining in an otherwise dark rain cloud is the Sixers will play 12 out of their next 13 games at home, so if there was ever a chance to turn a season around, now would be that time.
SF- Chandler Parsons
PF- Marcus Morris
C- Omer Asik
SG- James Harden
PG- Jeremy Lin
SF- Evan Turner
PF- Thaddeus Young
C- Lavoy Allen
SG- Jason Richardson
PG- Jrue Holiday
- James Harden was one point shy last night of continuing his 14 game streak of scoring a minimum of 25 points. I’m sure Harden didn’t really care about the streak and much rather would have wanted to win more than continue the streak, but it was still quite an accomplishment.
- I wonder who will see basketball action first, Royce White or Andrew Bynum? By basketball action I mean actually performing on the court whether it is at the NBA level or in the developmental league. That distinction should give White a little more of a chance, but at this juncture it is more likely Bynum will hit the court first. According to ESPN.com, Bynum has indicated the swelling in his knees is gone, so he could begin to up his activity in the coming weeks with a goal to play at some point before the end of the season. In White’s case, him and management are still at a standstill on what type of protocols should be put in place, so I wouldn’t hold my breath on seeing him on the court anytime soon.
- Jrue Holiday has been one of the Sixers’ lone bright spots this season. He is 6th among point guards in scoring at 18 ppg and he is fourth in assists with 8.76 apg. The only downside to his game is he currently leads the league in turnovers per game by averaging 3.79 turnovers. That is not a damnable statistic though as the Rockets can attest to since James Harden is second with 3.69 turnovers per game.