By the Numbers: Rockets' losing streak

By the Numbers: Rockets' losing streak
January 20, 2013, 5:45 pm
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The Rockets have now lost seven straight, dating back to a 88-79 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Jan. 9.

Before the losing streak, the Rockets had won 10 of 12 to boost their record to 21-14. The seven-game slide has them hanging at .500 as they head to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats on Monday afternoon.

The Rockets scored just 79 points on Saturday night in a loss to the short-handed Timberwolves. It tied their lowest points output this season with that loss to the Hornets, which started this whole streak.

The Rockets have scored an average of 93.3 points during the losing streak and have given up an average of 102.4. Before the streak, in 35 games, the Rockets were averaging 106.8 points per game, while giving up 103.7.

The Rockets' seven-game losing streak is their longest since 2006. They haven't lost more than seven in a row since 2001, when they lost 15 in a row. That was the longest streak since the team moved to Houston in 1971.

So why the losing streak? Why have the Rockets been so bad recently?

Well, it's not just because they've played great competition. Over the past seven games, the winning percentage of their opponents coming into the game against the Rockets was a combined .490, which was helped out a great deal by the Clippers, who were 29-9 before facing the Rockets. Only three of the seven opponents (Clippers, Celtics and Pacers) had a winning record before playing the Rockets.

Perhaps the reason the Rockets are struggling is because their best player hasn't looked like it. James Harden, who is the best offensive threat on the team, has averaged 22.3 points per game during the losing streak.

In the 34 games previous, Harden scored 26.6 points per game. Harden scored 31 points in the last Rockets' win, against the Lakers on Jan. 8, but hasn't scored 30 since. It's his longest drought of the season without scoring 30 points.

The Rockets will have a day of rest on Sunday before playing an afternoon game against the Bobcats in Charlotte on Monday. The Bobcats have one of the worst records in the NBA at 10-30. The Bobcats aren't any better at home. They have the same about of wins at home and on the road.

The Rockets have struggled on the road this season. Fourteen of their 21 wins have come at home. But the good news is that 14 of their wins have come against the Eastern Conference.