This was a good win, but not necessarily a pretty one.

The Suns, even as much as they have collapsed, have the pieces to make things tough for the Rockets. P.J. Tucker is the closest I have ever seen to a “Harden stopper” as James Harden struggles almost every time playing him. Tyson Chandler and Alex Len are  big bodies who can push Capela around and annoy Dwight Howard. And Markieff Morris is a skilled power forward who can give this new Houston small lineup fits.

True, Morris did not have a great game tonight, but Harden and Howard struggled a lot tonight and the Rockets came out with the same lethargic defense that has plagued them for much of the season. It culminated in Coach Bickerstaff yanking all five players off the floor and throwing a new group out midway through the first, but that did not turn things around instantaneously. And against a better team, that slow start may have proven fatal.

But it was still just the Suns. And this time, the supporting cast helped turn things around, moved the ball, and had some big plays down the stretch to win a game the Rockets should have won. And Houston has blown those games far too many times this season.

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in game coverage

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The Houston Rockets were all smiles after winning a good game over a good team. James Harden was reclining with is friends and being playful in interviews. It’s something they should try more often. Despite some embarrassing fast breaks and some ugly breakdowns at the rim in the first half, the Rockets turned in one of their best outings of the season, using a combination of effort, talent, and team play to sail past the Miami HEAT. Perhaps they’d forgotten it could be this way. Perhaps the 5-in-7 week they just escaped from had gotten them down. Perhaps life truly is just a series of arbitrary events as we hurtle through space from nothing to nothing. Whatever the cause, they had reason to be happy, and that’s a nice change of pace.

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in game coverage

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The Houston Rockets lost to the Washington Wizards after yet another game filled with complaints about the officiating. There’s plenty more to inform why the Rockets lost to a struggling Wizards team, including shoddy defense, a silly Dwight Howard ejection, and massive fatigue. It was another game that must leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the Rockets, and head coach JB Bickerstaff himself was spitting fire after the game. The Rockets have fallen back to .500 yet again, and there’s still no rhyme nor reason to this team.

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in game coverage

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Some days, everything just goes wrong. Certainly, the Rockets had elements of their decision making, of their chemistry and their rotations they could have improved. Too many shooters were left open in corners, and too many plays devolved into isolation. The Houston Rockets have some issues to address following their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. But sometimes it really does just come down to a roll of the dice. Sometimes, it just comes down to how many open shots you can hit, or rather how many you can miss. Even with all the odd factors in this game, the Rockets could have won it. The game became a shootout, and the Rockets found their chambers empty.

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in game coverage

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The Houston Rockets are nowhere near the San Antonio Spurs. Whatever sorcery caused the Rockets to prevail on Christmas has worn off and the Spurs have simply dominated the last two times these teams have met. The Spurs are simply in a different league from the Houston Rockets, and the Spurs aren’t even title favorites. The Rockets had found some semblance of flow lately, but when the rent is due, being in a better mental place doesn’t pay the bills. The Spurs were frustrated and grumpy, the Rockets were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the Rockets got their requisite national TV shaming.

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in game coverage

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