Houston Rockets: 3 takeaways from first 25 games

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images /
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Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images /

2. Defensive communication continues to be an issue

Although it might be safe to say that the Rockets possess enough firepower to turn their late-game offensive struggles around, one could only hope for the same with their current issues on the other end. The Rockets managed to let their defensive prowess fall completely by the wayside.

Houston — which finished seventh among all teams in defensive rating a year ago — has allowed opposing teams to beat them at their own game by utilizing the pick-and-roll to draw Clint Capela away from the rim and exploit mismatches off switches, finding an array of wide open scoring opportunities inside.

"“We gotta be better,” Rockets guard Chris Paul told reporters about the team’s defensive effort following Houston’s 27-point loss against the Utah Jazz last week. “We gotta play better defense. Our defense isn’t consistent right now, and rebounding has been a big issue for us. Coach has been on us about that, and we just gotta be better at it or it’s going to be a long season.”"

Although it remains to be seen how Houston’s defense will perform the rest of the way, working to instill a much stronger line of communication — combined with tweaking a few of their current defensive schemes — could be the primary ingredient that helps propel the Rockets upward in the Western Conference standings.

Through the first 25 games of the regular season, Houston has proven to be one of the worst defensive teams in basketball — giving up 51 points per game in the paint — while also allowing opponents to score 112.2 points per 100 possessions, Finding a way to effectively call out sets on the floor, and dropping Clint Capela and Nene more on pick-and-rolls to protect the paint may grant them the opportunity to rectify their issues within the paint and on the glass.