As defensive woes mount, frustration boils over for Rockets coach Stephen Silas

As defensive woes mount, frustration boils over for Rockets coach Stephen Silas

HOUSTON — When Rockets head coach Stephen Silas walked into the press conference room for a postgame interview, everyone knew he was upset after another woeful defensive effort by his team.

Gone was his usual friendly smile or upbeat mood, even in defeat.

This loss differed from the others; Silas could not keep his facial expressions or emotions from displaying it.

“The effort. The effort,” said Silas, who raised his voice an octave to display obvious displeasure with his team’s performance.

“It was getting into the body, getting over the screen, being in help, spreading the closeouts, doing what we’re supposed to do, acting as if it doesn’t matter,” Silas said. “It matters. Disappointing. These are the lessons we have to learn, I guess, and all that stuff. That’s not right. What we did tonight on that floor was not right. It’s not right.”

He was describing how the Rockets had given up 140 points in Monday’s loss to Sacramento. It was the second consecutive game that Houston has allowed at least 140 points after surrendering 153 to the Thunder (most in Oklahoma City history) on Saturday.

Houston looked out of synch on defense versus the Kings by allowing back-door cuts to the basket and wide open 3-point shots.

This season, a common theme with the Rockets has been allowing an opposing player to have a season or career-high in points.

On Monday night, it was no different. Kings rookie Keegan Murray scored a career-high 30 points, with 24 coming off eight made 3-point shots. In his previous three games, Murray had only hit one shot in 16 combined attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

“This team (the Kings) can score,” Silas said. “They’re right at the top of the league. But just letting guys line up wide-open threes? Like, no, we don’t do that. We don’t do that. We’ve had a stretch of this season, these last couple of games, where this is not how we’re supposed to play, and it’s not doing all the things that we’ve been talking about all season long.”

Houston’s issue over its last two games has been an inability and lack of willingness to communicate with one another on the defensive end. Against the Kings, they were constantly in disarray, allowing their man to find comfortable, open spots on the floor to get uncontested shots. The only reason the Rockets stayed competitive for three quarters was that Sacramento went through cold stretches.

“They’re not giving the effort on the defensive end,” Silas said emphatically when asked about the lack of communication. “They’re not getting after it (Silas slams the table) like they’re supposed to. They’re not getting into their man and fighting over and helping each other. Not doing what they’re supposed to do.”

Rockets guard Jalen Green, who was making his second start after being out of the lineup with a calf contusion, agreed with Silasthat the lack of effort was a massive issue for him and his teammates.

“He had every right to be angry,” Green said. “His message was just; basically, we got to play harder. That’s our second game giving up that many points. He was just saying we’ve got to play harder. We can’t come out like that. Have some type of pride for ourselves. He was saying we’re doing ourselves a disservice. So, I think everyone in the locker room agreed with him. We could have played harder, especially in the second half. We just have to learn from it.”

Houston (13-41), which owns the NBA’s worst record this season, will have a chance at some redemption Wednesday when they take on the Kings again at Toyota Center. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. Central.


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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire