Rockets 103, Wizards 121 - This, Too

By Forrest Walker on December 29, 2017

The Houston Rockets are snakebit. If there's such a thing as being jinxed, they're it. In a funk? You bet. Tired, bedraggled, beaten up and miserable? Check, check and check. The Rockets' season has gone from the highest highs to the lowest lows in a record amount of time. The only thing worth pulling out of this wreckage of a loss to the Washington Wizards is a simple adage: this, too, shall pass.

I suppose James Harden was sort of decent. He shot 7-14 for 20 points, and 4 assists aren't bad. There's that. Unfortunately for anyone seeking comfort from a Houston perspective, there really isn't anything else. The defense was a mess. The ball movement was sluggish. The open looks weren't falling. Chris Paul looked sub-optimal. The bizarre loss from the previous night, the lack of key players in Clint Capela and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the minutes and road fatigue piling up, all these factors likely contributed to this unwatchable loss.

At least it was under two hours long.

This game was reminiscent of some things many Rockets fans won't want to revisit. It was similar to the infamous "game 6" in which after a truly unlikely, truly heartbreaking loss the Rockets found themselves tapped out and emotionally devastated. It also had shades of the Bad Times, the year or so when Houston's offense falling apart led smoothly into their defense crumbling as frustration set in. These aren't trends which will continue, but they are trends that are poisonous in this moment.

It's more than just injuries. It's more than just fatigue. It's more than just fluky losses and the grueling nature of the NBA season. It takes a lot for a team that was able to dominate so effectively to suddenly lose to lottery teams like the Los Angeles twins, and to lose five games in a row. The whole of these hurts is greater than the sum of their parts, and the Rockets look like a wholly different team than they scant days ago.

Five games back, they looked like they would never lose again. Now, they look like they'll never win again. But just as their dominance passed, so will their pathos. Nothing in this world lasts forever, something which is vitally important to remember in this bizarre reality we live in. This NBA features a Golden State Warriors team which is as close to unbeatable as we've ever seen. This will, however, not last forever. Even if we can't see how it could happen, it will happen nevertheless.

The same is true of this Rockets team, and every team besides. Right now, it seems impossible for anything to go their way. They look like they need to win a game just to believe they're allowed to win a game. But it will, in time, get better. Whether the catalyst is health (Clint Capela, for instance, is due to play on Sunday), rest, familiar beds, or just a few unlikely shots going in, something will happen. This is a truth that is a terror on the good days, but a comfort during stretches like this.

This, too, shall pass.

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