Houston had high expectations this season after losing in seven games in the first round of the playoffs last season to the Dallas Mavericks.
Coach Jeff Van Gundy does not blame his team’s woes on the injuries.
“I am really, really surprised at the personality of our team,” Van Gundy said. “I thought we’d be stronger internally to play with the same pride and passion that we exhibited from the time we made the trades last year.
“It’s happened some, but not nearly enough.”
One of the most frustrating aspects of Houston’s struggles is its 6-16 mark at the Toyota Center. Every other team in the league has at least nine home wins.
McGrady also has been a different player at home compared to on the road. He is averaging 21.7 points—8.4 points per game fewer than what he does on the road.
The All-Star forward made 5-of-18 shots and finished with 11 points in an 89-76 loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Lakers, snapping a four-game winning streak including a season-high two straight home victories.
McGrady is shooting just over 30 percent (19-for-63) over his last three games.
“I just need to find some openings in the defense, realize what they’ve been doing to me lately,” McGrady said. “I have to try to take advantage of more opportunities in transition, try to get more free throws and just try to shoot my way out of the slump, just keep shooting.”
“It was all while staying within the offense,” said Harpring. “We have a lot of weapons when we do that.”
Jazz forward Carlos Boozer made his season debut and had two points in six minutes. Boozer missed the final 31 games of last season with a strained right foot before straining his left hamstring in training camp to curtail his return this season.
“I’m just glad that nothing happened so far,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said, “and hopefully he can move forward. Get back to where we can use him out on the floor.”
Boozer had 16 points and 18 rebounds while with the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 90-84 loss to the Rockets on Feb. 25, 2004.