Rockets' Ups and Downs Continue Despite Coach's Return

Check out pics from Saturday's close game against the Mavs in our slideshow.

Kevin McHale was emotional at times when he met with the media upon his return to the team on Saturday night after an extended absence due to the illness and tragic death of his daughter. He kept in touch with the players and coaches on a regular basis via phone and text and the entire team went to the funeral in Minnesota in between back-to-back games. The emotional roller-coaster ride seems to mirror the play on the floor, which is to be expected from young players like those that fill the team's roster, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

On Thursday, a furious fourth-quarter rally brought the team back for an impressive win over the still struggling LA Lakers. It was a game that saw the team shoot horribly and its starters play so poorly, it was mostly the bench that brought them back. But an ugly win is still a win. Unfortunately, it was followed by a VERY ugly loss to the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio.

The Spurs continued their roll, crushing the young Rockets Friday night in a game where they led by as many as 33. James Harden bounced back from the rough game against the Lakers to score 29, but he got little help from the rest of the team and that trend continued Saturday in a 116-109 loss to the Mavericks.

Despite closing the gap late, the Rockets had miscues on defense, allowing a red-hot O.J. Mayo to get open for shot after shot. Harden again had a fantastic outing with 39 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, but, once again, was virtually abandoned by Jeremy Lin, who followed up a 2-9, 4-point performance in San Antonio with a 7-point game against Dallas, watching most of the game from the bench.

Both Lin and Omer Asik have struggled in the last couple games and both will be needed if the Rockets hope to beat the Spurs Monday night at Toyota Center.

After that, the schedule turns a bit more favorable with games against the awful Wizards, the Raptors and the banged up Knicks.

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