Sunday, November 7th, 2010 at 8:30 am  |  32 responses

Houston, We Have a Problem

The Rockets are the last winless team standing.

by Tzvi Twersky | @TTwersky

On opening night in Los Angeles, Houston looked like the better team for the better part of their tilt against the Lakers. The Rockets lost the game down the stretch, though, falling to Kobe and co., 112-110.

Two weeks and four games later, an 0-5 Houston team is still looking for its first win of the young season.

So what’s ailing H-Town?

While Yao Ming is back after missing the 2009-10 season, he’s hardly had the impact expected of him. Maybe it’s rust, maybe it’s the Rockets run-and-cut system, maybe it’s the 24-minute limit. Whatever it is, though, it’s not good. For the center, or the team.

After last night, Yao’s only part of the problem. Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin, Rick Adelman’s starting backcourt, both tweaked their ankles, the former worse than the latter, in an overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Throw the League’s worst point per game defense and a disgruntled player—Jermaine Taylor, who tweeted, “Beyond frustrated…feels like I’m being lied 2″—into the mix and Houston has itself a real problem.

Of course, it’s still early in the season, and the Rockets have an abundance of talent. So a real problem may end up simply being a temporary problem. Still, it’s never too early to get nervous.

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  • phil

    bring back tmac!!!!

  • spit hot fiyah

    no don’t do that

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstySYD Hursty

    So frustrating. An inability to hold onto leads and close out games. And when they aren’t scoring, they aren’t stopping the other team. Sounds simple enough to rectify but… I guess not.

  • Groves

    Jermaine Taylor FTW!… good luck to Yao, Brooks, and Martin

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    It seems fairly obvious to me that they need to bring Deke back to plug the hole in the defence.

  • http://twitter.com/nbatalkandkicks Eduardo

    they only just lost to the lakers so they’re not doing that bad. just have a had a bad stretch.

  • chris

    Word is Isiah Thomas wants to take over and make things right.

  • http://www.scoutingthesports.com Nick

    It’s weird. The Rockets have had a lead, often a substantial lead, in every game they played but can’t close it out. This leads me to beleive that they’ll figure it out, but it’s not done yet.

  • T-Money

    Advanced stats! Smartest GM in the league (who hasnt achieved anything).

  • http://slamonline.com Jeremy Bauman

    not the best thing to tweet

  • Jose

    Yea, im puzzled as to why they are winless..it’s not yao i dont think cuz he’s been productive with those 24 minutes, martin and brooks ankle tweaks wont help tho. I had no clue Taylor was in h-town…..It has to be…T-Mac’s Fault?

  • max

    T-Money thats exactly what I wanted to write.Critisize Joe Dumars as much as you guys all want,I take him over Daryl ´Morey.He is such a genuis:2009 no playoffs,0-5 start this year but is still considered best GM in the world.Basketball is not a game of numbers.

  • max

    Oh thats sounds like I am writing about Joe Dumars in the last paragraph.I mean Daryl Morey and no playoffs in 2010 of course.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick tha Quick

    Watched the end of last nights game against the Spurs. It’s not that they have a bad team. They traded leads and kept it close till the very end but when you need a bucket with less than a minute to go and your go-to player is rookie Ish Smith running a pick and roll with Scola where Spurs basically dare the rookie to make the shot and on the other end, you have a Ginobili isolation or a Tony Parker/Tim Duncan p/r then your results are going to be drastically different.

  • max

    I meant 2010 no playoffs for the Rockets and Darryl Morey (I guess noone considers Dumars best GM after Billupsgate)

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    theyre winless, so WHAT DO THE DOCTOR ORDERS?! THE L WOLVES AT HOME TODAY, LOL, this story will be outdated by tomorrow

  • LB

    The Rockets just played a brutal opening schedule against the Lakers, the Spurs and the hot Hornets. The only win they probably should have nabbed was against the Warriors, who are young, but very talented. So, no real reason to panic, yet. Sure, the West is competitive as hell and losing ground early might bite them in the future, but the Rockets are just too deep and talented not to recover. They’re two deep with legit talent at every position. They have Aaron Brooks, who is a rising star with a very solid and fiesty Kyle Lowry at the point. A legit 20 ppg scorer in Kevin Martin with a former Finals worthy team starter in Courtney Lee at the 2. Shane Battier’s a shutdown defender and good outside shooter, and his backup, Chase Budinger is a very athletic finisher and a great outside shooter. Luis Scola is a beast inside, and his backup Chuck Hayes will outwork anyone. Yao Ming playing 24 minutes a game is still better than 90% of other centers playing 48 minutes. Brad Miller is another experienced vet who can shoot, pass and rebound. Overall, a very talented and well composed team who should get over this speed bump in due time.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    What’s frustrating is that EVERY single game the Rockets have lost so far EASILY could have gone the other way. If Lee made those two free throws, the Rockets would have iced the game and won. And more importantly, if ISHMAEL SMITH HADN’T TAKEN 16 SHOTS (only making 4… WTF?!) THE ROCKETS WOULD HAVE WON.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    The Rockets have really good chemistry and are balanced at every position. They will be fine. If Brooks and Martin had stayed in the game, they would have won for sure. Martin had 24 points in 22 minutes (!) and came out in the 3rd quarter. He’s playing like an All-Star this year. Hopefully Brooks can recover too.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    WHAT THE F*CK WAS ISHMAEL SMITH DOING?! He’s a good player with miles of potential but as a rookie on the Rockets, you don’t shoot 16 times when Scola has the hot hand.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    T-Money, Morey is a great GM who has assembled great rosters (and continues to). Advanced stats just don’t account for your two star players being injured every year.

  • ripslam

    Who the hell is Jermaine Taylor?

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Rough start, but I think they’ll start racking up some Ws… A week or two from now, I think the slow start will be forgotten..

  • JD

    However on the bright side the Spurs are 4-1 which is pretty good for them at this time of the season

  • max

    Teddy:A ”great” roster is a winning roster,a roster that plays in ECFs and Finals.You don’t win games on paper.He did a decent job on managing the team,making them financially flexible but on court up to 11/7/2010 he has accomplished nothing.

  • T-Money

    They’re giving 24 million a year to Shane Battier (one of th e best players in the league according to the NYT), Kyle Lowry, Jarred Jeffries and Brad Miller. What’s so great about this team? They were a middle of the pack team before Morey and they are one now.

  • orl.chris

    C’mon back to Otown Jermaine!

  • notblack

    THe reason [i thinks] they dont get the W is that they dont have the grunt [exluding scola] to win the the fact they have finesee skilz is blinding you from this. They need to go more hard in the paint to win. They need to do waht TO is doin [watch a game the one anbst LA was so entertaining i missed a party just to sit and watch. They make crap dicisons. ON a side note ming is a siissy with 'feet made of porclin' [ i stole that joke].

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    jermaine taylor, the once proud alabama boxer that beat bernard hopkins to become the middleweight champ? er, i guess a different jermaine

  • http://www.twitter.com/HurstySYD Hursty

    Congratulations to the Minnesota Timberwolves who now own both the League’s worst offensive and defensive rankings.
    And thankyou for allowing Houston to get a W today.

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  • Yes.We.Did.

    @ T-Money Shane Battier is making 24 million WHAT this year? Can’t be dollars. Maybe Jamaican dollars, he aint gettin paid more than (above) Average joe johnson?