HOUSTON — Everything seemed to be going well for the young Houston Rockets a week ago. They looked like a team finally starting to put everything together, as they defeated Milwaukee at Toyota Center to extend their home winning streak to three games.
As the Phoenix Suns made their way into town, Houston showed them no southern hospitality, either, in a commanding win last Tuesday. The Rockets celebrated the victory, which was their fifth straight at home, but two glaring issues would need correcting before taking on the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers.
They would need to keep their intensity throughout all four quarters and move the ball more fluidly on the offensive end of the court.
Neither of those things happened, as the Rockets have dropped back-to-back games at home and are now scrambling to find ways to correct the mistakes that can become habits amongst young players.
“Just a mindset of wanting to come out and win,” said Rockets guard Jalen Green, who missed all six of his 3-pointers and is shooting 23.2% from long range over his last 15 games. “I don’t think it’s been there these last few games. I think we got complacent and just happy with those two wins, but we got to learn from that.”
The stagnant ball movement and the constant one-on-one play have caused a major collapse from 3-point range for Houston. In their last two games, the Rockets have shot 19% (12-for-62) from beyond the arc. Against Portland, it took two fourth-quarter 3-pointers to get Houston to a meager 10% showing (3-for-29) for the game.
“The first half, we were just missing shots,” said Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. “In the second half, we didn’t take good shots, and that was a lack of ball movement. You’re going to have nights where you don’t make shots, but the ball movement just has to be better.”
Energy wouldn’t seem to be a concern for a team with 11 players under 25 years old, yet it seems to be the one thing the Rockets can’t find when they need it. Against Miami, the lackadaisical effort to start the game doomed Houston, and on Saturday, it was the second-half apathetic movement on the court.
“We were just playing streetball out there,” Green said. “We weren’t playing together no more. We didn’t have no fight. Just an energy drop.”
When asked what the team could do to keep the energy level up throughout the entire game, Green reiterated that it is an individual thing each player must do.
“You can’t really work on bringing energy to a game,” he said. “It’s kind of just a mindset. Everyone got to be on the same page.”
Houston will have to work quickly to fix the stagnation of the ball and energy level as the San Antonio Spurs will visit Toyota Center on Monday. The Rockets lost 118-109 the last time the two teams met, which broke an 11-game losing streak for the Spurs.
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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire