The Houston Rockets have now lost four games in a row and have slipped to the sixth spot on the Western Conference standings. Their most recent loss came from the unlikely Orlando Magic squad, who beat the Rockets at home with a convincing double-digit deficit win.
Coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged that his team is going through an evidently rough patch:
"Eight days ago we were rolling, and then all of a sudden the bottom fell out," D'Antoni told reporters. "We're searching a little bit for answers, and we'll find them...it's so bad that we've got to find a little spark, a little swagger, and hopefully we'll start Tuesday."
When James Harden was asked about his views on D'Antoni's observation, the former MVP was quick to confess the hardships his squad is facing and that the only way to bounce back is by enduring and working through it:
"Yes, yep. ... We're not really worried, just frustrating," Harden told reporters when asked about D'Antoni's characterization. "Seems like it's all going bad, but the only way you get out of it is keep pushing through. Keep fighting through it. The tide will turn around, we'll make it turn around."
The Rockets have embraced the small-ball lineup in its most innovative avatar this year. The team is still without a bonafide center, and plans on keeping it that way.
They certainly had not hoped to be 39-24 (0.619) and 10.5 games behind the Conference leaders (Los Angeles Lakers) at this stage of the regular season.
Although the pairing of Harden and Westbrook is paying dividends and looks promising heading into the postseason, the roster as a whole still lacks the collective drive to make it big.