The Rockets have become one of the more frustrating teams this season, often losing fourth quarter leads due to a lack of a killer instinct that has been stripped from this team with the injury to Aaron Brooks.
In his absence and during this current stretch of bad play, not even dominant scorer Kevin Martin has been consistently reliable down the stretch.
Much of this is attributed to his teammates not getting him the ball. Teams with closers know who to turn to with the game on the line, and the Rockets are as clueless as a detective on a murder case with no murder weapon.
If you need proof, just watch the last 22 seconds of regulation during the Memphis Grizzlies game last week.
Having watched the Rockets take down teams like the Knicks, Hawks, Nuggets, Thunder and Lakers, one could assume they have the talent to compete.
The problem is they live and die by their three point shooting; when it is absent they have as much a chance of winning as I do of joining the roster.
This is the reason why they have losses to the NBA's worst clubs, like double-digit losses to the Raptors and Bucks, and a loss to the Timberwolves this past week despite the Wolves missing four regular rotation players.
Offensively, they can still get after it on some nights with the inside scoring of Luis Scola and the ability of Kevin Martin to create, but where they truly lack prowess is interior defense.
I'm not here to rag on Chuck Hayes—I love the guy—but he is in no way someone you can count on for help defense.
He has done an outstanding job one-on-one against the best bigs in the business, but the Rockets need someone to patrol the lane and make guys think twice about entering the paint.
Hayes does a good job of making guys work hard for their points, but the team needs someone who can prevent those points better.
Someone that comes to mind is DeAndre Jordan, but I'm not sure the Clippers are going to give him up as he is still young, raw and has a chance to shine.
When he had the opportunity to start and get a high number of minutes he did very well, piling up 63 blocks in 29 games during the months of December and January.
The Rockets miss Yao Ming's presence on offense no doubt, but his ability to alter shots is something they have yet to replace.
Jordan Hill has the size and athleticism to be that type of defensive stopper, but has yet to utilize his own abilities and gets worked on defense time and time again, forcing Rick Adelman to restrict his opportunities thus far.
The Rockets have a chance this Saturday against Dallas to make a statement that they intend on forcing themselves back in to the playoff hunt.
In the last meeting, Tyson Chandler torched the Rockets on the inside and finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds. The Rockets sorely missed that inside presence as seven Mavs players finished in double figures, and they finished at 50 percent shooting for the night.
It is very clear what the Rockets need, and it's also clear that they won't finish over .500 unless they find it. They are 4th in the NBA in scoring, and 24th in points allowed.
That is not going to cut it in the Western Conference.
If the Rockets lose their next three games before the All Star Break to Dallas, Denver and Philadelphia, don't be surprised to see Daryl Morey make a move with all of the trade pieces he possesses.
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