In ninth straight loss, Rockets lament not knowing how to close the deal

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As the losses continue to mount for the Houston Rockets, the overall theme throughout every postgame press conference during the nine-game losing streak has been the young team’s inability to finish.

In Wednesday’s 112-104 loss at Toyota Center to the visiting Detroit Pistons (2-8), it was a scoring drought during the fourth quarter that cost the Rockets (1-10) another chance at a victory. Houston trailed Detroit 89-84 with 10:25 left in the final period before the Pistons went on an 11-2 run over the next four minutes to increase the lead to 100-86.

The Rockets countered with an offensive outburst of their own with a 17-4 run to get within one point at 104-103, but they would miss their final four shots and score only one point over the last 2:30 of the game.

The Rockets hit 7 of the 25 shots (28.0%) they took in the fourth quarter. Kevin Porter Jr., Christian Wood, and Jalen Green, who most would consider the nucleus of the team, went a combined 1-for-12.

“We fought, but it wasn’t enough,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said after the game. “We need to learn how to close the deal, and we didn’t do that tonight. Our late-game execution wasn’t great. In order to finish, you have to execute down the stretch.”

Experience is a contributing factor when it comes to winning games in the fourth quarter, and that is something this young core doesn’t have. Yet, that is not an excuse for players to stop running the offense and not pass the ball around for quality shots, which seems to be the most frustrating thing for veterans like Eric Gordon.

“It is the same old thing, over and over,” said Gordon. “We have too many droughts where we dig ourselves in a hole.”

If Houston wants to be successful moving forward, they cannot allow bad habits to keep dictating their outcomes.

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