With 3 games played 2 weeks into the 20-21 season, James Harden was the regular season leader of points per game, averaging 37. However, after Monday night’s loss against the Dallas Mavericks, the Rockets are 2-3 on the season. One of the newest additions to the squad, DeMarcus Cousins had an early exit from the game after he was ejected after only playing 3 minutes. The ejection came as a result of two technical fouls. One foul was due to a shove that he bestowed upon Willie Caulie-Stein and the other came after he complained about not getting a foul call. Houston’s score leader for the night was Christian Wood with 23 points followed by James Harden who contributed 21 points fresh from his ankle strain. Eric Gordon had 20 points while the team had a low turnover rate of 12 which typically converts to a win.
“We didn’t play well both sides of the ball,” Gordon said. “We weren’t scrappy, we weren’t physical, we didn’t protect the rim.”
“We kind of reverted back to isolation basketball,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas explained post-game. “We didn’t put enough pressure on their defense. We didn’t move their defense around. Obviously, it’s a process. We were way too stagnant, didn’t move the ball enough to put pressure on them and make it hard on them.”
James Harden classified the Rockets defensive efforts as “We played hard. We just didn’t make any shots.”
He went on to say that the team just “hadn’t found [their] rhythm.”
It’s still very early on and as always, the team looks different than the year before so it will take time for this squad to find said “rhythm.”