Rockets Rolling Into All-Star Break Despite Injuries
The Rockets completed a pair of back-to-back wins against the Spurs and Mavericks Tuesday and Wednesday, completing a run of 7 wins in their last 10 games. Their only losses in that stretch were a pair against the Grizzlies and one complete fluke loss to Oklahoma City in which they managed the biggest negative point differential from one half to the next in league history. During this stretch, they have found themselves without four of their five starters at various times and without three of their key bench contributors as well.
The Rockets have been impressive despite a rash of injuries.
That's the kind of season it has been for the Rockets. They have been an up and down team, struggling through stretches of awful offense and head-shaking losses, but turning around with brilliant performances and breathtaking wins. With the combination of injuries, youth, an over-reliance on three pointers (something they haven't done particularly well this year) and generally lackluster defense, it's quite remarkable they have 31 wins and are in sole possession of fifth place in the tough Western Conference. Move them to the east and they'd be in third, only one game back in the win column to the Heat.
The last four games have been a contrast in style and substance. The losses to Memphis underscore how this team can struggle when its shots aren't falling. The Grizzlies are a tough defensive squad and they forced the Rockets to play their game. The Rockets didn't score 90 points in either contest.
But they rebounded against the Spurs coming back from a first half deficit to win 97-90 and they followed that up with a win in Dallas 117-115. It was the first time they reached triple digits in five games -- the last coming in a win over Portland when they dropped 126 on the Trailblazers.
The good news is that the schedule finds the Rockets playing only five games in the next 12 days leading up to the All-Star break. Not only will it give them valuable practice time, but it will allow players to rest and heal. The latest casualty was James Harden who missed the last two games with a bruise on the thumb of his shooting hand.