"You are what your record says you are." Bill Parcells had it right. At 6-7, this is the case for the Houston Rockets.
A case could be made as to why they aren't as good as their current record. Let's eliminate that line of thinking and move in the other direction.
A similar case can be made as to why the Rockets are better than their record 13 games into the season. Here's a few things that may have cost Houston some games and have them a little farther down in the Southwest Division standings than they may have hoped to be at this point.
The word distraction is often overused in sports, and it definitely doesn't do this particular situation justice. In this instance it was tragedy. Head coach Kevin Mchale had been away from the team since November 10 caring for his daughter "Sasha".
She lost her battle with lupus at the age of 23. Things like this put everything into perspective as basketball, and wins and losses are quickly lowered into their proper places.
This tragedy has affected the team. There's no getting around it. As mentioned, coach McHale had been away from the team since November 10 and the health of his daughter was no doubt weighing heavily on him and his family before he actually took his leave.
The 119-117 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on November 16 was a difficult pill to swallow and most definitely a win that shouldn't have gotten away. The fact that Toney Douglas played major minutes down the stretch in place of Jeremy Lin is still puzzling.
Challenged the Champs
There's no better measuring stick than the defending champs. Houston was able to see where they were, so to speak, against the Miami Heat. This was another win that literally slipped right through their fingertips as they lost 113-110 on November 12.
There are no moral victories, but Houston learned a lot about themselves in that game. Miami punched them square in the mouth at the outset building a 17 point first quarter lead. Houston couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. The fact that they were able to fight back and put themselves in a position to have it slip away in the end is saying something.
Crushed the Knicks
We all know the saying, you're only as good as your last game. Based on that Houston is pretty good.
The Rockets didn't let anything slip out of their grasp when the New York Knicks came to town on November 23. The Knicks came to Houston already owning a blowout win at home over the Miami Heat. They had gone on the road and beaten the San Antonio Spurs.
Chandler Parsons had 31 and seemingly sets a new career high for himself every time he steps on the court lately. Mike Woodson's club left Houston with a 131-103 loss, their most lopsided defeat of the season.
This is just another indicator of what the Rockets are capable of when they come to play. The youth and inexperience are there and will manifest themselves all season long. However, they've shown flashes that indicate what they can do and where their ceiling can be.
In spite of everything that's gone on in this young season, the Rockets are fifth in the league in scoring at 101.3 points per game. They have managed this while still trying to find continuity and balance. They still haven't peaked yet on that end of the floor and gotten to the point where everyone is clicking on all cylinders every night.
With a little time and work, that record could end up being a little better than it lets on.
All stats are accurate as of 11/26/12.