Rockets missing their transition game

Rockets missing their transition game
April 24, 2014, 2:00 am
Share This Post
(USA Today Images)

The Rockets are facing a Game 3 in Portland on Friday, still needing to win four games to advance, because they've yet to even get one win after losing both games in Houston to open up their first-round series.

One overwhelming force in the first two games has been Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge set the Blazers' playoff record with 46 points in Game 1, then came back and became the first Blazers player to have two playoffs games with 40 or more points, when he dropped 43 points in the Rockets in Game 2, leading Portland to a 112-105 victory.

Houston has not shot the ball from long range, making just 11-of-51 (22 percent) shots from behind the 3-point line in the two games.

Their leading scorer James Harden has been abysmal offensively. He followed up his 8-of-28 shooting performance in Game 1 with a 6-of-19 shooting display in Game 2. Plus, he's turned it over nine times. With Harden this far off his game on the offensive end, it's been a major struggle to put together good long stretches of offense.

However, he and many of his teammates are still pointing to their defense as the main reason this series is clearly getting away from them.

"I am not worried about my offense. I am worried about defense, our defense as a team," Harden said, after scoring just 18 points in Game 1. "When we get stops, when we get out in transition, everybody feels good about themselves. That’s when assists start flowing and things are going good. Like I said, if we can’t get our stops, it makes it more difficult."

While Aldridge made 18-of-28 shots (64 percent) in Game 2, his teammates were just 22-of-56 (39 percent). The Rockets even scored 20 fast break points. But still it was not enough.

"We are giving up too many rebounds. We are not getting enough stops and we are not able to get out in transition and run and finish on the break," said Chandler Parsons, who had 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting. "We had like 16 assists tonight and that's not our game. We've got to have over 25 assists. To do that we have to get stops and we've got to get out in transition.

"When we did that tonight, we made that run in the third quarter an tied it up, but we've got to continue to do that," Parsons continued. "We've just got to focus on the defensive end because these last two games have been awful."

Jeremy Lin, who made one of his five shots, while leading the team with five assists noted the struggle the Rockets have had trying to play these two games in a style more to their liking.

"We are trying to play the right way," Lin said. "They (Portland) have done a great job of making it tough for us. We haven't really gotten anything wide open or anything in transition like we normally do. I think it starts with us having to get some stops and rebounds and that's one thing we haven't done."