What is wrong with the Houston Rockets? It is still earlier in the season but they have not looked good this season. They have played ten games and have already lost three consecutive games twice. Despite the injuries last season they never lost three games in a row. These losing streaks have been themed; to start the season they lost three games by exactly 20 points. During this losing streak they have scored 98 points in each game.
The problems are on both ends of the floor for this team. They are giving up 108.3 ppg which ranks 27th in the league. There defensive rating ranks 29th in the league. This may be due to the fact that Dwight Howard has only played in six games. He has looked great in three games and just alright in three games. Terrance Jones has been banged up and Donatas Motiejunas has yet to play a game this season. There has been no consistency in their front court.
Last season the Rockets only gave up 100.5 ppg while scoring 103.9 ppg. Their scoring has dropped to 101.4 ppg this season which seems odd considering they added an offensive point guard in Ty Lawson. Lawson has been horrible this season. He’s only averaging 9.1 ppg on 31% shooting from the field and just 28% from 3-point range. Patrick Beverley is shooting the ball better than Lawson at this point in the season.
Houston is shooting a lot of three pointers, leading the league with 32 attempts per game. However they are only making 9 threes a game which puts them at 28% and that ranks them 28th in the league. If they want to start winning games they need to get that mark back up to the 34% they shot last season.
Lawson was supposed to create plays so James Harden wouldn’t have the ball in his hands as much. Harden is averaging a career high in turnovers and during this three game losing streak he has had 14 turnovers. In the last five games he has turned the ball over 28 times. Harden scored 40 in back-to-back games while shooting over 50% from the field and he took 30 combined free throws in those games. It looked like he was turning the corner on his slow start to the season but he’s shot under 50% in the three games since then including a 5-21 night against the Mavericks.
The Rockets are currently 4-6 and are on the outside on the playoffs. Denver is 5-5 and they have beat Houston twice. Phoenix and Dallas have been surprise teams so far this season. It is still early but the Rockets should panic because a slow start could mean they don’t get home-court advantage in the playoffs.