All season long the Rockets have been pointing to today. They had essentially the toughest schedule in the NBA to this point, and somehow managed to stay above .500 with a roster many picked for the cellar.
From January 7 forward, the schedule gets much easier for Houston, and the team has long expected that today marks the day they'll start climbing into a meaningful place in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Except for one thing. The team is not feeling good. They're on a three-game losing streak, and worse, their starting unit simply has been ineffective of late. Daryl Morey has said the starters need to change their approach, and Rick Adelman and Shane Battier agree. Here's what they told Rockets.com's Jason Friedman:
“We’re not playing the way we’ve talked about playing,” says Adelman. “We’ve walked the ball up the court. We need five people running up and down the court and we’re not doing it. We’ve got to change that. We can’t have one group playing one way and then the next group playing different.”
Adds Battier: “We’ve had slippage in the chemistry department. You can just tell by the way we play. We haven’t been as unified at both ends of the court. You can say that with pretty good confidence because the second group that comes in, the guys off the bench, have great chemistry. They play together, they move the ball, they space the floor and they rely on each other to play good basketball.
“I think the tendency for the first group right now is to really try to do it themselves and try to carry the team out of the slump. We’re not doing it out of malicious reasons; every guy feels that they can help the team and raise the level of play. But we’ve gotten away from trying to do it collectively instead of individually and it’s resulted in some pretty bad basketball.”