With the regular season underway, some teams have lived up to their much-anticipated hype, while others have already faded and been taken out of the race for the title.
After two losses, the Houston Rockets are one of the teams that people have begun to look over, despite a full roster and plenty of backups if any injuries do occur.
Houston, we have a problem.
The Rockets still have to make significant improvements on defense.
After a close season opener, the Rockets fell short by two points against the Los Angeles Lakers.
After leading at the end of the half, the Rockets came back and lost their 11-point lead. After that, it was downhill for the Rockets.
Luis Scola’s defense was particularly bad against the Lakers. At times, he looked like a deer in headlights, losing Lamar Odom multiple times and conceding his share of open baskets to the Lakers.
Brad Miller has looked decent defensively, but he was definitely not quick enough to keep up with the Lakers.
Courtney Lee has been a good defender historically, but he also struggled against the Lakers. Even Shannon Brown scored with ease against him. Whether it was his fault or not, the Lakers seemed to go on runs the moment he entered the game.
These guys don't make up the NBA's oldest team (San Antonio and Boston beat them there), but regardless, some of the players aren’t in their prime anymore.
It’s hard to say whether they lost their lead because of defense or because of the inability to keep up with the fast-paced Lakers' "Monstar" team.
Regardless, the Lakers showed an effortless performance in the second half, and that’s how champions are born.
Yao Ming made his big appearance back on the court. He wasn’t impressing, as he was sluggish and lost at times, but he didn’t show signs of weakness in his foot. This might be his year for a full-time presence.
Kevin Martin also graced us with his presence, after being out for a long while due to shoulder problems. Although he proved as a threat in the first quarter, as he scored 12 points and made 2-of-3 three-pointers, his intimidation factor began to slide in the second quarter.
Courtney Lee demonstrated a variety of scoring moves. His jump shot was a bit off, but he still was fairly effective on offense. Ending the night with eight points, will he begin to see more court time, especially after Houston's two losses?
Ishmael Smith only received five minutes of game time. It’s doubtful he will receive much time to show his talent, with Aaron Brooks as the starting point guard.
With all their players back on the court and off the disabled list, will the Rockets step up their game and make it all the way?
They were the talk of the offseason, as their players were gearing up for this season, and now they’ve started with two losses.
It’s possible that they just need to get in the groove of things as a team again, seeing as how it’s been a while since they have done that due to the injuries. Let’s not write them off just yet, as they are sure to be a threat. After all, they were so close to beating Los Angeles in their opener.