The Rockets are dangerously close to the very bottom of the Western Conference–something that nobody foresaw for the team that made it to the Western Conference Finals last year and is the homeplace of the league’s reigning MVP. They lost disastrously to the Utah Jazz last night in a 118-91 rout (even with the Jazz missing star center Rudy Gobert after he was ejected in the first quarter), and to the Timberwolves just a few days before that.
The Jazz and Timberwolves are good teams, but they should not be handily beating a team with James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and Sixth Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon.
Gordon himself didn’t hold back after last night’s loss, saying it “sucks” and expressing a loss of hope in the team’s hopes for success this year.
“I’m just not having fun man. This sucks,” he told Kelly Iko of The Athletic Even the times where I have good games. We’re just not using some guys the right way. Are we gonna make the right sacrifices? Do we have the right attitude?”
In the words of Iko:
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not for a contender. Not even for a pretty good team. This season, there have been one too many instances of the team trying to get out of the arena as quickly as possible after bad losses, with locker room conversations few and far between. These Rockets used to be fun, high-flying and energetic. What the Rockets are now is a team with an 11-13 record, half a game above the 14th-placed San Antonio Spurs.
It really is shocking, and the Rockets join a small cadre of teams with equally disappointing showings thus far. Though they showed up for this particular game, the Utah Jazz happen to be one of them. Both teams are scrambling over each other to get out of the bottom of the rankings, and this time the Jazz just happened to come out on top. The Washington Wizards have been a bust, the Boston Celtics have struggled to get wins, and even the Golden State Warriors spent some time lower in the rankings than anyone ever expected. It’s been a weird season–from here it’ll just be about seeing which teams can pull themselves out of the funk.
The Rockets Face the Mavs Next
The Rockets’ current state of mind won’t be doing them any favors as they head into their next game. It’s against the Mavericks in Dallas–a team that blew the Rockets out (what a twist) barely a week ago, 128-108. As JJ Barea, Luka Doncic, and Dwight Powell unleashed a barrage of points upon them, the Rockets had no collective answer and fell to the lesser team.
That being said, both teams are coming off of their worst games of the season–which could either give them an edge or make another loss all the more demoralizing. The Mavs lost by 26 in New Orleans and the Rockets loss to the Jazz totaled 27 points (though they trailed by as many as 39).
The two teams will face off Saturday, December 8th at 5:00 pm CST.
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