The Houston Rockets entered the 2018-19 NBA season as the team to challenge the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, for the Western Conference supremacy. Last season, the Rockets managed to force a Game 7 against the Warriors in the Western Conference finals. If Chris Paul didn’t suffer an injury, most people believed Houston would be the one competing in the NBA Finals 2018.
Unfortunately, six games into the 2018-19 NBA season, the Rockets don’t look like the NBA team who will give the Warriors a run for their money. Houston is playing poorly on both ends of the floor and currently the worst team in the Western Conference with a 1-5 record. Per Tim McMahon of ESPN, Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said this team is “playing like crap” and admitted that they are yet to find a solution to end their struggle.
“Right now, we’re playing like crap,” D’Antoni said. “We’re just not playing well. You know, I don’t have a whole lot of answers for you now. We’ll look, and we’ll fight it.”
Right now, the Rockets are feeling the effect of the departure of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the recent free agency. They currently rank 27th in NBA’s defensive efficiency, allowing 113.3 points per 100 possessions, as reported by ESPN. Also, Another thing that added to their woes is the number of injured players on their roster.
Mike D’Antoni: “We’ve lost our swagger and we’re on our heels.” The MVP’s return — maybe as soon as this weekend — will help. But D’Antoni admits he doesn’t have answers right now. https://t.co/F6CanvblO1
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 31, 2018
Rockets superstar and reigning MVP James Harden missed their last two games due to injury. In his absence, Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni decided to insert Carmelo Anthony to their starting lineup to boost their performance on the offensive end of the floor. Anthony has somewhat managed to impress in their recent game against the Los Angeles Clippers, but against the Portland Trail Blazers, he only posted eight points and four rebounds on 2-of-12 shooting from the field and 0-of-2 from beyond the arc.
“When it goes bad, it goes bad,” Anthony said. “Right now, I think we’ve just got to keep biting at it, keep fighting, keep playing. I’m big on staying the course and figuring it out. Whatever we have to figure out, I’m sure we will do it. It’s just a matter of us getting that one win, getting that feeling, getting that winning feeling.”
Harden’s backcourt partner, Chris Paul, doesn’t seem to be his usual self since he returned from a two-game suspension. In the last two games, the veteran point guard only shot 9-of-12 from the field. As of now, it remains unknown how long will the Rockets’ struggle continue. If they fail to address the issues on the roster, it is highly likely that beating the Warriors in a best-of-seven series will just be a dream for the Rockets.