HOUSTON — From the moment the Houston Rockets broke training camp in late September, one of the primary goals had been to earn a playoff rematch of last season’s Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors. So, mission accomplished? Not quite. Undoubtedly, the Rockets envisioned themselves closer to the team they were in 2014-15 (56-26 overall, No. 2 seed) than the mediocre, 41-41 squad that had to win its final three games this week just to qualify for the playoffs as the eighth
The Houston Rockets are admittedly “broken,” but the fix may still be months away. After losing to Portland in their final game before the All-Star break, the Rockets have lost six of eight and now find themselves below .500 (27-28) as the West’s No. 9 seed. That means that a team that went to the Western Conference finals a year ago and opened 2015-16 training camp with championship aspirations could actually miss the playoffs entirely… depending on what goes down by next Thursday’s
For those gentlemen – and who knows, maybe ladies, too – who aspire to one day reach the pinnacle of the basketball coaching profession, be advised that institutions you hope to work for may not be run in the most rational manner. And I’m reasonably certain that Jeff Hornacek, Lionel Hollins, David Blatt and Kevin McHale would agree with me. Hornacek just became the latest NBA head coach to lose his job, although compared to others, the Phoenix Suns looked positively patient.
We’re a quarter of the way through the regular season and the NBA landscape has shifted dramatically. Kobe Bryant is retiring after this season and wants to be remembered as a “talented overachiever” when it’s all said and done. Meanwhile, Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers (3-15) trail only the Philadelphia 76ers (1-19) for the league’s worst record. With every loss, the Lakers grow closer to keeping their top-three protected draft pick and potentially land top prospect Ben Simmons. On the flip side, the Golden
It seems like the Houston Rockets are willing to try nearly anything to get out of their early-season funk. As we approach the quarter pole of the NBA season, Houston has already replaced its head coach and is trying numerous different lineup combinations. To put it nicely, things are still a work in progress for the Rockets. After needing overtime to defeat the Knicks, who were without Carmelo Anthony because of an illness, on Sunday, Houston stumbled to a 116-105 loss to
HOUSTON — Entering Wednesday, Kevin McHale had accumulated the best winning percentage of any coach in Rockets franchise history and was mere months removed from somehow guiding his injury-plagued team to an unexpected berth in the Western Conference finals. Before lunch, he was fired. Because of 11 regular-season games. McHale, who was in his fifth season as Houston’s coach, was let go just 11 games into his new three-year, $12 million contract extension. In other words, expectations are high enough that owner
Talk is cheap. Just ask the slumping Houston Rockets, whose locker room is starting to resemble a presidential candidates’ debate. “We’ve been talking,” slumping superstar James Harden said. “We’ve been doing too much talking.” “We’ve had a lot of heart-to-hearts,” coach Kevin McHale said. “As a matter of fact, we talk too much. Talking doesn’t win basketball games.” Last season, the Rockets surprised more than a few folks by crashing the Western Conference finals, a spot thought to be reserved for the San
The 2014-15 Houston Rockets were a feel-good story, shaking off major injuries and muted preseason forecasts to become the Western Conference’s second-best team. The 2015-16 Rockets, on the other hand, shouldn’t come as such a surprise. Following the bold offseason trade for former Denver point guard Ty Lawson, the story in Houston is back to being about what is, rather than what might be. In other words, GM Daryl Morey is finally “all-in” on his roster. While Lawson fills the obvious need of