Rockets Look To Bounce Back Against Lakers

Rockets Have Lost 3-of-4 after Wednesday's loss

Adam Spolane
January 17, 2020 - 1:30 pm
Harden, LeBron

Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- On Friday, the Rockets reconvened for the first time since the team meeting that followed Wednesday's 117-107 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, though they were a little late to start practice because their film session ran long. 

"We had a lot to cover," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said. 

The Rockets have dropped to fifth in the West after losing three-of-four over the last week, with the lone win coming against a shorthanded Timberwolves team last weekend, and the three losses came against teams outside the top six in the West and all were by double-digits. D'Antoni thought Friday's film session was beneficial.

"We just tried to clear up some issues in our communication stuff and make sure everyone's on the same page," he said.

Despite the bump in the road the Rockets have hit over the last four games they remain 26-14 on the season well on pace for a fourth straigh 50-win season.

"I don't know if anyone watches, other teams go other places and lose, it's not like we're supposed to win every game. We have a little bit of a rough patch, we'll get it, and we got great guys in that locker room, and if I'm not mistakin' we're in the top five (in the West) and we're a couple of games out of second and there's 42 (games) to go.

The Rockets are two back in the loss column of the Denver Nuggets for second in the Western Confernce, but the team who sits above all, the Los Angeles Lakers, pay a visit to Toyota Center Saturday night. At 33-8, the Lakers trail only the Milwaukee Bucks for best record in the NBA, and D'Antoni knows it will be a tough game.

"It's a big game, but they all mean a lot, but it's a big game, and it will test us, it's a test, it's an early test and let's see if we can pass it."

Along with the second best record in the NBA, the Lakers will enter Saturday's game with the league's second best net rating, outscoring opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions, thanks to a defense led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis that yields just 104.6 points per 100 possessions. 

"Their rim protection is really great," Rockets guard James Harden said. "They do a good job of contesting shots with their length, and they got some pretty good guards that are guarding."

Harden downplayed the importance of Saturday's game while terming Wednesday's postgame team meeting as a "quick little conversation", and while the outside world panics over a rough stretch of play, D'Antoni is confident everything will work out in the end.

"Nothing's wrong, we just need to play better, and we will, and we'll hopefully start tomorrow night, if not, the next night after that. We just keep fighting, keep working, and getting things clearer and moving forward."