It's been a strange week for the Rockets. They obliterated two Western Conference playoff contenders, tying an NBA record for three-pointers in one of the games, lost to the NBA champs and a really bad team on the road even if Jeremy Lin did drop a posterizing dunk during the game, saw the return of prodigal son Royce White as he joined the Vipers and got a small star turn with Lin's new ESPN "This is Sportscenter" commercial.
Such are the life and times of a young, inconsistent, sometimes frustrating but often exciting team and there is no time to think about what was with back-to-back games against the Warriors -- the team they crushed last week -- and the Clippers, one of the best in the NBA, before hitting the All-Star break.
On the Road Again The Rockets' two near-perfect wins at home against Golden State and Portland were offset by a close loss at Miami and, more depressingly, at Sacramento, a team that is close to the bottom of the Western Conference and not even sure if it will remain in Sacramento. The Rockets were simply out-hustled by the Kings, particularly on the offensive glass.
As is the case all to often with the Rockets, when their energy flags even a little and they miss a few shots, they struggle. With young players, the ups and downs are common and most teams win only about half their games on the road, but the Rockets tend to provide even greater levels of frustration when they absolutely destroy one team and don't compete well against another.
All-Star reserve James Harden continues to play at a very high level, but he needs help and the entire team needs to learn how to play defense consistently and not just in spurts.
The lone highlight of Sunday night came in the form of a NASTY dunk by Lin going coast to coast after a blocked shot. Who knew the guy had those hops?
Speaking of Linsanity... The Rockets point guard has finally begun to establish himself. His points per game average is up three full points in February and he is shooting over 50 percent, up six percentage points from his season average. He was also added to the skills competition on All-Star weekend and even got a "This is Sportscenter" ad.
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The Prodigal Son Returns For the hardcore fans, welcome back, Royce White. The #AnxietyWarrior made his scheduled return to the Rockets D-league affiliate this week and appears to be in relatively good spirits. It remains to be seen if he will be able to deal with his anxiety issues, which by the way, have never created problems on the floor. ABC13 got a sitdown with White in the Rio Grande Valley on Sunday and he seemed his normal, honest self, which sometimes rankles fans. We'll see if they accept him back into the fold once he starts actually playing games. More importantly, will a tough guy like McHale be able to deal with it? We shall see.