Rockets must develop on-court chemistry to end losing streak

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Déjà vu is the feeling of having already experienced the present situation. That must be what returning players and coaches from the 2020-21 Houston Rockets are going through this NBA season, as the 2021-22 group currently owns the league’s longest losing streak at 12 games.

The Rockets have been through this type of adversity before. Last season, the historic losing streak started with a 111-106 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 6 and did not end until a 117-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors on March 22. During that span, the Rockets lost 20 games in a row, which led to them finishing the season with a 17-55 record. Not surprisingly, that mark was the NBA’s worst.

It is hard to imagine that Houston will avoid the same path as last season with the way they have performed in their last four games, including a 136-102 blowout to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas was asked after the Grizzlies game if he sees any similarities between the losing streaks.

“Last year, the long streak was after a seven-game winning streak, and we had so many injuries,” Silas told reporters. “This streak is different because it’s right at the beginning of the season and we’re trying to find ourselves and trust ourselves. But yeah, the message is pretty much the same, but the circumstances are different.”

The Rockets’ biggest issue last season was the inconsistent lineups they put out on the floor each night. That was largely due to injuries, health and safety protocols set by the NBA, trades, and beyond.

This season’s concerns involve the lineup as well, but in a different way. Silas has not been able to find that right mixture of players on the court together, which usually leads to a stagnant offense where players are still learning the tendencies of their teammates.

“We are all close off the court,” Christian Wood said regarding his teammates. “We just have to show the same chemistry on the court. As one of the leaders, I tell these young guys we have to stay together. Last year we lost 20 games in a row, but everybody stayed together. That is what everyone has to do this year.”

Houston heads to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, seeking to break the losing streak that began after a 124-91 victory over the Thunder on Oct. 22. That’s their only win of the new season thus far.

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