The Houston Rockets looked to be really hitting their stride at the start of January and the 2014 portion of the NBA regular season. After starting the year at a respectable 21-13, the Rockets came out in 2014 and won eight of their first 10 games of the month. However, they’ve looked quite different from the team that went on that run over their last two games.
The Rockets have spent the past two nights playing a home-and-home series with the Memphis Grizzlies. While the Rockets could have benefitted from taking care of business against one of the better defensive teams in the league, they actually did the opposite as they fell to Memphis on both Friday and Saturday.
After falling in a closely contested matchup in Houston on Friday, the Rockets were easily handled by the Grizzlies on Saturday, falling by a count of 99-81. Once again it was the Grizzlies defense that stifled the Rockets, holding them to just 37 percent shooting on the night. More importantly, the Rockets also shot just 28.1 percent on their 32 three-point attempts.
The Rockets dependency on the long-ball has been their real Achilles heel this season. For instance, when the Rockets shoot above their season average of 34.4 percent from three this season, they have a 17-5 record. In games where Houston shoots 34.4 percent or less from long-distance, the Rockets are now a meager 12-12.
With the shooters on this team, they undoubtedly want and need to use the long-ball to their advantage. However, taking 32 threes is a bit excessive. They need to find the balance between attacking and outside-shooting in their offense, especially against talented defensive teams like Memphis. There’s still a little less than half of the season left to go, but it will be interesting to see how the Rockets remedy this issue going forward.