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Minnesota Timberwolves 92, Houston Rockets 79: Rock Bottom Hits Hard

The Houston Rockets put forth their worst effort of the season, a dismal 79 point outing. They shot a miserable 32% from the field, including a mere 29% from behind the arc. The Rockets committed 29 team fouls and turned the ball over 20 times against the Timberwolves, a performance that would lose to any team in the league. Despite that, the Rockets still stayed within striking distance through the majority of the game, which Houston has to hope is rock bottom for their season.

The Rockets find themselves at .500 on the season once again, their 21-21 barely good enough for 9th in the west. After obliterating teams like the Grizzlies and Bulls, the Rockets lost their 7 game cushion in sobering fashion. After their 10th game in 15 days, and the last of 5 consecutive pairs of back to back games, the Rockets will soon be able to rest between games. In the meantime, they suffered a cavalcade of mistakes and misses in seven straight games, including being put away by a badly floundering Timberwolves Team.

Despite being without seven of their players, including Kevin Love, Dante Cunningham Nikola Pekovic and Alexei Shved, the Timberwolves only ever trailed by one point, and only for a few brief moments. Andrei Kirilenko led the way, hurtling and scrapping at both ends of the court. Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea also played well, though the real surprises came in the form of two recent acquisitions. Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale both played well, especially down the stretch. The Timberwolves turned in an ugly performance, but it was less ugly than the frustrated performance the Rockets turned in.

James Harden led the Rockets with 18 points on 5-18 shooting. He also led the team in assists and turnovers (5 and 4 respectively), had one fewer rebound than Smith’s team-leading 8, and tied for most steals and fouls (2 and 5). Harden did it all, even when that included mistakes. He tried to take the game over late, but it was too little, too late.

Greg Smith had probably the best evening for the Rockets (12 points, 6-9 shooting, 8 rebounds, 1 turnover), though Delfino had a decent outing as well (15 points, 5-12 shooting, 4-9 threes). Asik fouled early and often, resulting in him playing a paltry 15:35. Patrick Beverly continued to eat Toney Douglas’ minutes, and both played mediocre. The entire team was half-hearted and exhausted; Parsons and Patterson combined to shoot a stultifying 3-13.

Exhaustion game way to frustration as everything continued to go wrong for the Rockets in the second half. Their body language shifted to anger as the game got out of hand. Whether it was to horrific shooting, the large four differential, the physical exhaustion or the knowledge that the losses are piling up, the Rockets looks madder and more fatalistic than any point so far in this season.  The Rockets badly need for this loss to be rock bottom for them. The Charlotte Bobcats are next on the docket, and their 10-30 record suggests that a win is possible.

Unfortunately, the Rockets will absolutely have to play better if they hope to get a win in any city in the league. Shooting 32% is a formula for failure in any circumstance, and one single day of rest may not be enough to pick up those dropping percentages. The Rockets’ grim fortunes and unhappy temperaments continue to worsen, and their only desire right now has to be avoiding an 8th straight loss.

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  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago

    blakecouey, on 20 January 2013 - 23:40 PM said:


    Not to mention we're on a 7 game slide and still only in 9th place. Once we get our game going again we will regain some positioning. Plenty of time left.


    We've played more HG than most teams in the West just a few weeks back, that's why you saw an inflated record. Look at our away record. Our run and gun offense is also not sustainable either and you are seeing a more realistic record. We aren't going to get better, at best we will sustain our pace but most likely regress more. Struggling against the Bobcats who are a legit 10 win team to date is more in line of where the Rockets truly are as a team. Honestly they are closer to a lottery team than back end playoff team.
    Also remember you are also accounting for the teams below us to ALL play as bad as they have going forward. That certainly won't be the case.
    Another famed and predictable fight for last spot in playoffs only to not get in year. This won't change until Morey is gone and we get someone who knows how to run an NBA team successfully.
  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago

    datruth, on 21 January 2013 - 05:50 AM said:


    I don't think blowing up the team is the answer, but coaching and adjustments are key in any type of competition. Teams are really playing Harden tough. I'm curious if there is something going on betwenn Harden and Lin. Harden, Lin, Parson are good players that you can build around. I disagree with someone early when they said these type of things happen to a young teams. This feels different. Mchale benching players sends a message to everyone. A picture tells a lot about any person or situation. When he benched Parson, Patterson and Lin. Harden wasshooting 3 for 10 and playing very little defense. Not sure, about Mchale. I'm getting the feeling that Harden can do whatever and everyone else better what your step.


    Since Morey took over pretty much this has been said every year, just swap a few players names here and there and you can cut and paste this every year.

    Notice at the beginning our HC and players that Morey took over were much better and with each year the HC and players get worse? I wish more people would.

    I have to give Morey (and he seems like a good guy but I'm talking about knowing how to run and be a successful GM which he isn't) credit, whatever he does he's got a good number of Rocket's fans fooled. People quickly run to his aid and throw out the excuses. Hats off to Morey in that regard.
  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago

    phaketrash, on 20 January 2013 - 23:55 PM said:


    Not to harp on the same point over and over again, but seeing as how you always bring up the same one yourself, I really am curious as to which GMs you would rather have, i.e., that are clearly better than Morey. I would like to know, compared to his peers, who are the ones who consistently do better. Those who occasionally luck into a top 3 pick might count (like I would say Presti is good), but some others wouldn't, so I guess use good judgment lol.


    I would like a GM who knows falls under one of two categories:

    1. Knows how to run a NBA team and can prove to LA how he will be successful
    2. Has already run an NBA team with success

    Morey doesn't fall under either. It's clear. He likes to find quirks in numbers and while it's a good read and cute doesn't work in the NBA. Same with MLB where if Money or MoreyBall would work it would in baseball. That's why OAK under BB will never win a pennant. We get worse or at best don't get better while under Morey since he designed the team he wanted. Trades or cuts everyone and keeps throwing darts at the wall hoping one day many guesses comes right.

    Successful people who run sports clubs or businesses would never advocate what Morey is doing, if so he would have been fired years ago.

    Even guys who look promising or have "sex" appeal aren't even utilized properly or in their natural position. That falls on Morey because again, like players he has no clue what works or what doesn't and keeps changing head coaches.

    Everyone with a small amount of knowledge knows McHale is NOT the guy you want coaching your team. Morey disagrees but that's not surprising since he doesn't know how to run a team or the players needed to win.
  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago

    sircharles, on 20 January 2013 - 23:27 PM said:


    lol its january and were in 9th place, you're absolutely ridiculous.


    Inflated wins, had a lot of home games and regressed back to the norm. You're a legit lottery type team if you lose 7 in a row and gut it out for a win vs Bobcats, a legit 10 win team to this point, in the second half.

    Facts are we get worse or at best don't get better.

    When will Rockets fans get off the Morey bandwagon and jump to mine? Feel like I'm either ahead of the curve or the only one w/o blinders on. Disappointed.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago I didn't see the game you are referring to, but perhaps McHale was making a point to Harden that he needs his team mates more than he thinks. Kind of the reverse of what Kobe does when he refuses to shoot to make a point to his coach. Maybe Mchale was saying, "you think you can do it all by yourself? Go ahead then. Do it."

    I have no idea...just speculating....
  • datruth says 1 YEAR ago I don't think blowing up the team is the answer, but coaching and adjustments are key in any type of competition. Teams are really playing Harden tough. I'm curious if there is something going on betwenn Harden and Lin. Harden, Lin, Parson are good players that you can build around. I disagree with someone early when they said these type of things happen to a young teams. This feels different. Mchale benching players sends a message to everyone. A picture tells a lot about any person or situation. When he benched Parson, Patterson and Lin. Harden wasshooting 3 for 10 and playing very little defense. Not sure, about Mchale. I'm getting the feeling that Harden can do whatever and everyone else better what your step.
  • phaketrash says 1 YEAR ago

    Kade, on 20 January 2013 - 21:34 PM said:


    Bad coaching
    Not trusting rookies
    Having players like harden running team like a PG instead of our PG
    GM who shows year after year to just make trades and throw darts without a concrete plan
    =
    Out of playoffs once again


    Not to harp on the same point over and over again, but seeing as how you always bring up the same one yourself, I really am curious as to which GMs you would rather have, i.e., that are clearly better than Morey. I would like to know, compared to his peers, who are the ones who consistently do better. Those who occasionally luck into a top 3 pick might count (like I would say Presti is good), but some others wouldn't, so I guess use good judgment lol.
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago Not to mention we're on a 7 game slide and still only in 9th place. Once we get our game going again we will regain some positioning. Plenty of time left.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago lol its january and were in 9th place, you're absolutely ridiculous.
  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago Bad coaching
    Not trusting rookies
    Having players like harden running team like a PG instead of our PG
    GM who shows year after year to just make trades and throw darts without a concrete plan
    =
    Out of playoffs once again
  • Dan G says 1 YEAR ago

    essex, on 20 January 2013 - 17:22 PM said:


    Correction to the article - Harden was 3 for 12, not 8 for 10. This team is starting to look like the Knicks, with iso-Harden instead of iso-Melo. Let's go back to the spread pick&roll


    Correction to essex's correction to the article hehe..- Harden was 5-18, not 3-12. I think you are thinking of Lin who was 3-12, and I think Forrest had wishful thinking :P.
  • essex says 1 YEAR ago Correction to the article - Harden was 3 for 12, not 8 for 10. This team is starting to look like the Knicks, with iso-Harden instead of iso-Melo. Let's go back to the spread pick&roll
  • Bigtkirk says 1 YEAR ago I agree with what feelingsupersonic's observation about the growing pains of a young team.

    However, there are usually a number of factors that contribute to losing streaks and this one is no different. The problem I have is that one of the factors in this particular losing streak is the stubborn resistance of the coaching staff to make any meaningful adjustments to help the team.

    I mean, really. Giving Patrick Beverley minutes at PG is not a major adjustment. Teams have adjusted to Harden running the half-court offense, so change it and run him off some screens and backside picks. Given the lack of production from the PF position, how would it hurt to give Montejunus a look? In the limited times that Asik and Smith have played together, the lineup has been reasonably productive -- why not try some rotations with those two in the lineup?

    An NBA season is a continuum of adjustments. Failing to make them will leave a team in the dust. That's what the Rockets are experiencing right now.
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I think this is to be expected. I didn't get too high on the Rockets when they had the win streak going and I won't get too down on them now. This young team will have extreme ups and downs and that's a fact. Young teams have bad losing streaks as well as really bad losses. I guess none of you remember how bad Durant's teams were for his first few years. Young teams and teams with young leaders suffer through growing pains on the the court and in the locker room. This is part of the process.
  • Paradise says 1 YEAR ago This is just getting depressing now.
  • datruth says 1 YEAR ago again Mchale has an double standard toward his players. Trust is an two street. Lin is the pg he should run the office, but everytime the offense gets a rythem Harden holds the ball an goes one on one. It takes the whole team out of rythem. It seems like the whole team is playing on eggs shells. Lin , parson, morris, patterson confidence is shot. He goes back and forth on his line up. If someone hot he pulls them out of the game. If someone is playing hard he pulls them out of the game. I'm not sure if he making the calls or sampson. I can see and everyone else can see his using of lin is disrespectful. Morris and patterson rather shoot three's than mid range shots. Omer drops more passes than any big man in the league. we have no post scoring and mchale supposed to have brought that to the table. Tony douglass has done some good things then you bench him for beverly. a kid just signed to the team. You bench lin and douglass, then defino is an liability on the defense side of the ball and always has been. harden rather try to sneek out for an easy two than play defense. Mchale team was coming together then he just blew it up.
  • khyberjones says 1 YEAR ago Lin figured out how to adjust to Harden from Dec-early Jan by picking and choosing his spots. It worked even though Lin was playing a role that is not optimally suited to his strengths. That approach has faltered now because teams have keyed on Harden and have denied him FT attempts and drives. He is an average to streaky jump shooter and teams are sending an extra guy to crowd the paint and get him out of his comfort zone. He is slowing the team down and Lin is relegated to a spot up shooter, which is not his strength. He is an inside-out PG who lives in the paint and is a rhythm jump shooter. The right move is for McHale to put the ball in Lin's hands and let him play to his strengths. harden is a great scorer and will easily get his numbers and do so more efficiently as a true #2. Putting the ball in Lin's hands will also reduce the amount of ball handling by the front court, which will lower the turnover rate and pts off of turnovers.
  • joshtwillis says 1 YEAR ago What I don't understand is how many losses and terrible preformances do we have to have in a row before the coaching staff realizes harden is not a point guard. He's not going to be able to play 40 plus minutes a nite and initiate 95 percent of the offense, it's just not working. If this is the offense they insist On running they would be better off not starting a traditional Point guard like Lin or Beverly, who's strengths are absolutley not playing of the ball and standing in the corner waiting on harden to decide what he wants to do with the ball. They would be better off starting Tony or Delfino who are actually spot up shoters and could stand there and wait for the ball to come their way......
  • Red94 says 1 YEAR ago New post: Minnesota Timberwolves 92, Houston Rockets 79: Rock Bottom Hits Hard
  • miketheodio says 1 YEAR ago arrrrrrrg

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