Rockets 111, Blazers 103 - Bounce Back

By Forrest Walker on December 11, 2018

The Houston Rockets began the game in a bad way, falling into a fifteen point hole in the first quarter. Just as the Portland Trail Blazers seemed positioned to begin their blowout early, the Rockets bounced back with a 15-2 run to finish the quarter down only a pair. After a contentious second quarter, the Rockets took a commanding seventeen point lead only to see the Blazers bounce back with a run of their own to cut it down to as few as five points. On a night full of comebacks, the Rockets made their own case for bouncing back from a disastrous season. Now they just have to repeat this game about forty more times and everything will be fine.

The most notable stat on the night was Chris Paul's triple double (11 points on 17% shooting, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals), a powerful if inefficient performance from the struggling star. For his part, James Harden contributed 29 points on 21 shots to go with 4-9 three point shooting and 4 assists. The third centerpiece of Houston's team, resident center Clint Capela, scored 13 to go with 7 rebounds and also fouled out late in the game.

Thankfully, Nene was available to spell Capela and looked not only spry but also engaged. Danuel House was a sparkplug off the bench. Gerald Green shot 83% from the floor and was generally excellent. Eric Gordon was also present.

The biggest news of the game was that James Ennis seemed to pull his hamstring in the second half, aggravating his previously injured leg. What this means for the team will be determined by the level of severity and how long he will have to miss. The Rockets, depleted and thin as they are, must hope to get him back soon to have some credible wing depth. Brandon Knight seems to be rapidly approaching recovery, but his abilities are an entirely different set from those of Ennis.

The larger picture this game paints is of a fork in the road. Should the Rockets figure out how to recover from their miserable early going, this is what it will look like.This game should give hope to those who see a path back to relevance and self-actualization.

If the Rockets are doomed to failure, however, this game is a stark reminder of what they could be. These flashes of competence often serve only to make the abysmal games that much more frustrating. The core issue is not that the Rockets are not talented enough, but that they lose despite their talent. This sort of massive step backwards is nearly inexplicable, and it's nearly inexplicable in a very similar way to the last time this happened, only three seasons ago. That season also featured numerous recoveries by the Rockets, only to see those dissipate like so much smoke. If they are to convince us that this isn't just another blip, they must continue this success.

Perhaps the Rockets have started to bounce back. But they also might just bounce back from this, as well, to fall flat on their faces yet again. Only time will tell, but tonight they come away with a win.

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