Rockets 85, Blazers 104 - A New Way to Lose

By Forrest Walker on October 30, 2018

 The Houston Rockets are bad. They add another loss to the ongoing tally, falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in embarrassing fashion. It began as a competitive if hideous game and ended as the latest in Houston's growing body of failures. It's still early and there are still a lot of mitigating factors, but the panic button is looking increasingly appealing as this Rockets season continues to spiral in a way none predicted.

The only interesting thing about this game was that they chose a new method to lose. This time, the defense generally held fast, with a dip in the third quarter, while the offense absolutely cratered. The team scored an inconceivable 85 points for an offensive rating of 86.7 (and a much more acceptable 106.1 on defense). In the second game without James Harden, the Rockets looked absolutely lost on the offensive end. Of course, even with his presence, they may not have had any offense anyway, as the largest issue was their utter inability to shoot.

As a team they shot 23.3% from three point range and 32.3% overall. Carmelo Anthony, signed for his ability to create instant offense, instead created 8 points on 12 shots with a 16.7% field goal percentage. Eric Gordon and Chris Paul each shot 2-8 from deep. This is an outcome off the dart board, and it's just one more good reason for the Rockets to sulk. The only problem is that sulking never helps.

Houston is dealing with a near worst-case scenario of strong opponents, lack of cohesion, suspension, injury, injury and more injury, abysmal shooting, rules change necessitating defensive changes, losing their defensive coach, having new personnel, aging, regression, and just plain bad luck. They surely feel like the house simply won't let them win, and they may be right. Unfortunately that doesn't lead to anything except a lost season.

Most likely, talent will take over at some point, as they move on to softer opponents and the shooting normalizes a little bit. There's a very good chance they obliterate the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls and begin to shake off some of their albatrosses. They also might make a huge trade. Any number of things could happen, and some of them would be good.

But with the way Houston's fortunes have been going, we should also remember that some of them could be even worse.

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