The Houston Rockets lost Game 4 of their second-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers, 110-100, on Thursday. The Rockets have lost three in a row since winning Game 1, as James Harden is staring at yet another early playoff exit.
It isn’t difficult to see why.
“The Rockets’ style of play will work on a playground. It will work in the regular season,” JR SportBrief said on CBS Sports Radio. “They went on a stretch where they got some of those big men out of the way and allowed James Harden and Russell Westbrook to operate and get in the paint, but sometimes you got to go by the eye test. If I’m in the gym and I see a team walk in and I say, ‘These guys are pretty damn big’ – if you’ve got some skilled small guys, you can put up a fight. But ultimately, if the big guys are just as skilled, I’m going with size. It’s not a difficult thing to go ahead and look at.”
Harden scored 21 points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-6 from three, in Game 4. Westbrook scored 25 points, while Eric Gordon added 19. Houston shot 14-of-33 from three-point range.
Its starting big men – Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker – combined for three points and six rebounds.
“Mike D’Antoni and the Houston Rockets, time is ticking,” JR said. Time is ticking for that squad to get blown up – and not in a good way. D’Antoni is going to be gone, and I have no idea what happens to the Houston Rockets, [but] the window has closed. Who the hell can play with James Harden? Can James Harden lead you to a title? I think the answer is no. Can Russell Westbrook lead you to a title? I think the answer is no. Can these two guys combined lead you to a title? I think the answer is no. And I have no idea what can fix the Houston Rockets going forward into the future. I don’t even think Daryl Morey has that answer.”