About Last Night
About Last Night

About Last Night: Rockets' woes continue

Dan McCarney, NBA.com

Nov 11, 2018 2:00 AM ET

Nothing has come easy for James Harden and the Rockets in 2018-19.

Yuck.

That was Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni's recent answer, simple yet so perfectly evocative, when asked about his team's miserable offensive performance to start 2018-19. 

Those woes continued Saturday against the Spurs as the Rockets sputtered once again en route to a toothless 96-89 loss

Even as the rest of the NBA enjoys a turbo-charged renaissance, it marked the sixth time the Rockets have failed to score 100 points in 11 games this season. They did so just eight times last season, when they led the league in offensive efficiency at 114.7 points per 100 possessions. 

Bump the threshold down to 90, and they've not only doubled every other team's total this season with four, they've already surpassed their total of three from the past two seasons combined

The Rockets entered Saturday's game ranked 27th at 105.4 per 100, and a pitiful 29th in raw points per game at 102.8. Both figures dropped even further after they shot a miserable 33.3 percent with just 11 assists on 30 field goals against the Spurs. 

Yuck, indeed. 

And the pièce de résistance: The Carmelo Anthony Experiment has failed miserably so far, to the point that the Rockets are reportedly pondering whether they even want him on the team anymore. (To whit: Anthony has more missed field goals than the sum total of his made baskets, assists, steals and blocked shots.)

With five months until the playoffs begin, the Rockets obviously have plenty of time to turn things around. Exactly how they're going to do that, however, remains a mystery. 

"If I knew, I'd tell you," said Chris Paul, who shot 4 for 13. "I don't know. I think ... the law of averages will kick in at some point, so I'm expecting us to get unbelievably hot. We're still figuring it out."

 

Trade Steph?

Hahahaha, of course not. The planet would spontaneously explode before the Warriors even considered moving game-breaking, two-time MVP Stephen Curry. 

But you have to hand it to Warriors reserve Quinn Cook: Give him an opportunity, and he'll invariably make the most of it. Starting just the 19th game of his career in the injured Curry's stead, Cook poured in a season-high 27 points to help the Warriors dismantle the Nets 116-100

It continued his history of strong play in the starting lineup, having averaged 14.6 points on 49.3-percent shooting in his previous 18 opens for the Warriors.

Despite such impressive production, Cook has found playing time tough to come by with the Warriors, for obvious reasons. Which makes Warriors coach Steve Kerr even more grateful to have such a dependable option when injuries and other circumstances inevitably arise. 

"That's the mark of a pro,'' Kerr said. ''He's a great fit for us. Always prepared and always ready. His role is going to swing wildly based on our health and what's happening out on the floor but he's always ready.'' 

 
Quinn Cook gives the Warriors a huge lift with 27 points against the Nets.

 

Like Mike

To be very clear, Zach LaVine is not Michael Jordan.

Once again: LAVINE IS NOT JORDAN.

That said, the flamboyant Bulls guard did a pretty passable impersonation with a series of high-altitude maneuvers in his team's 99-98 triumph over the Cavaliers. So good, in fact, that the Bulls themselves couldn’t help but notice the similarity between the two on LaVine’s slick reverse layup.

For good measure, LaVine added this putback slam off a missed free throw, yet another callback to one of Jordan’s many specialties when it came to scoring the basketball in the most athletic, stylish manner possible.

 

Elite company

The 76ers fell to the Grizzlies in overtime, in part because All-Star center Joel Embiid shot just 4 for 15 with six turnovers. 

He nonetheless racked up his 13th double-double in 14 games this season, becoming the first Sixers player to do so since Moses Malone in 1982-83.

Could it be a good omen on an already great day for the Sixers? Malone won his third MVP award that season while leading them to their most recent championship.  

 

Elite company II 

DeMar DeRozan struggled through a rare off night against the Rockets with just 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting. 

He still finished the night averaging 25.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists, joining Kevin Durant and (of course) LeBron James as the only NBA players to reach those thresholds this season. 

 

Stat of the night

71.7 -- That's the individual defensive rating, as measured by points allowed per 100 possessions when he was on the court, for new Lakers center Tyson Chandler during his 23-minute stint against the Kings. 

To put that into perspective, the Lakers are giving up 109.1 per 100 as a team this season, good enough to rank 17th in the league.

It comes on the heels of a 97.9 rating in Chandler's Lakers debut against the Timberwolves, providing another sign that his addition could be just what they need to shore up the leaky defense that has plagued them during their uneven start. 

 

D up

Jabari Parker made headlines this summer during his introductory press conference with the Bulls, when he said NBA players aren't paid to play defense. (Given how offensive production has soared this season, he might have had a point.)

But even Parker can be suitably motivated with the game on the line, preserving his team's one-point win over the Cavs with a clutch block. 

 
Jabari Parker comes up with the clutch block against the Cavaliers.

 

Don't forget the donuts

Veterans frequently mess with rookies just because they can. Such was the case the other day when some unidentified Hawks -- not to drop dimes or anything, but Jeremy Lin reportedly had a leading role -- filled Trae Young's $138,000 Audi with popcorn. 

Clippers rookie Jerome Robinson became the latest victim of this time-honored NBA tradition, and he has no one to blame but himself. According to Tobias Harris, Robinson drew his teammates' ire by forgetting breakfast for their morning shootaround. 

 


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