Hoping to close the year out with a win, the Rockets host Sacramento, owners of the second worst record in the Western Conference. One of the Kings nine victories came against the Rockets two weeks ago. In Rudy Gay’s first home game for his new team, the Kings beat the Rockets by 15. With Houston’s lack of consistency it’s become obvious that there aren’t going to be many easy victories this year.
Adding Gay hasn’t added up to more wins yet for the Kings, as they are three and seven in their last ten games (right at their season % of .310). Hopefully this game, Parsons can hold Gay to his average shooting percentage of .415. Cousins, Thomas and Gay were the leading scorers in that game and are the teams leaders for the year.
All That Power – The Rockets finish the year at no. 7 in Marc Stein’s ESPN Power Rankings, a one-spot improvement over last week:
The contention here is Sunday’s sorry showing in OKC was a schedule loss on the heels of Houston’s impressive Christmas Day dismantling of the Spurs and ensuing wins over Memphis and New Orleans. Having just three games in the next 11 days is a welcome break after some crazy travel.
I mean, if ESPN wants to blame that embarrassing beat down on the schedule, then who am I to argue? The Rockets moved the opposite direction in John Schuhmann’s rankings at NBA.com. He has them at no. 9:
The Rockets just played seven games in five cities over the last 10 days, a stretch that featured Christmas’ best performance (a comfortable win in San Antonio) and ended with a serious thumping in OKC. Now they get a well-deserved break and a chance to enjoy those Christmas presents they got from Dwight Howard, with only home games against the Kings, Knicks and Lakers over the next 11 days.
The cruelest ranking for the Rockets this week is Hollinger’s computerized system at ESPN. It ranks Houston at no. 11. Not a good place for a team aspiring to be a contender. [read more…]
Now would seem like a good time to discuss the NBA schedule. Stars across the league are sitting on benches due to injury. Derrick Rose is done for the year, Al Horford is out, and even the unstoppable LeBron James had to miss a game. Looking at the Houston Rockets, Patrick Beverley is the latest player to contract the broken hand flu that seems to be going around, Ömer Aşık apparently can’t keep his knee from filling with fluid, and Greg Smith re-injured his knee. A nasty stretch of games, including two back to back sets of games in five days, has ground the Rockets to a nub, and ended the whole trial with a game against a mighty Thunder team. Every team goes through these patches, and every team struggles. But is this even necessary?
People have been talking about shortening the season for years, and there are many reasons to do so. There are, of course, many reasons to leave well enough alone, income primary among them. The season doesn’t need to be shortened. In fact, it should be lengthened. Not to add more games, but to remove sixteen games for each team, and to add more days off. No more back to backs. No more broken hands. Only basketball that matters. [read more…]