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The Houston Rockets' turnover troubles have been an issue that's been beaten into the ground for quite some time. Unfortunately, they are still a problem.
The Rockets average the third-most turnovers in the NBA with an average of 15.5 per game. Their turnover differential is plus-2.4, which is second only to the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston's 1.29 Assist-to-Turnover ratio is also the league's worst.
By now, fans are familiar with the main culprits. Only three players average more turnovers than James Harden's 3.8 per game, and his 126 giveaways are fifth-worst among all players. Dwight Howard isn't far behind Harden with 122 turnovers.
Jeremy Lin has 83 turnovers (2.9 per game) but has played 10 fewer games than Howard and four less than Harden.
This issue is where all of the Rockets' problems come full circle. If you turn the ball over, you give the other team extra possessions. Those extra possessions lead to more opportunities to exploit a leaky Houston defense. Generally, that leads to a less-than-favorable final score.
Solving this problem falls on both the players as well as Kevin McHale. They have to do a better job of taking care of the orange, and McHale needs to be a bit more firm when they don't. When players make mistakes without fear of repercussions, that's a quick way for a coach to lose his team.
The turnovers aren't something that suddenly fell on Houston's doorstep. It has been a problem for years, and it has happened on McHale's watch. This year, things must be different.
The roster is retooled. The expectations are higher, and on paper, the Rockets have a realistic chance of making a title run.
That doesn't happen, however, if McHale doesn't find a way to take the reigns and keep things from spiraling out of control.