Houston Rockets: Three reasons why they’ve reached a turning point

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 20: Chris Paul #3 and James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 20: Chris Paul #3 and James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
James Harden and former Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Reason #1: The crash heard ’round the world

The hype was high. The Houston Rockets had just come off a season where they went to the Western Conference Finals. They had brought in Ty Lawson to take the pressure off James Harden so that he would get more rest and play better defense. The trio of Dwight Howard, Harden and Lawson were supposed to be an improved trio to combat the success of the Golden State Warriors.

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

Harden showed up chubby — thanks Khloe Kardashian — and Kevin McHale was fired 11 games into the season because he had lost the locker room. People were not convinced he could continue to lead the team despite his recent extension and it only got worse.  The Houston Rockets did not start the season at the same pace as the previous year and things were getting worrisome.

Then-interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff handled the duties for the rest of the season and it was as bad as I could remember. He didn’t show any signs of potential in leading the Houston Rockets.  Nonetheless, his impressive 16-12 start coaching the Memphis Grizzlies this season causes me to scratch my head.

And on top of that, my Dad was cursing at the TV every time he saw his grumpy face and I lived in fear because he asked about my grades every time he was in a bad mood.  I still to this day don’t know why, it would just make him more upset.

Dwight Howard started dividing the locker room. There was less optimism and the negativity started to spread out on the court. There was less enjoyment out there, more anger and James Harden was carrying all the blame as his leadership was ultimately questioned.

I’ll never forget the reaction the Rockets bench had to the “game winner”  Harden had in Game 3 in their first-round series against the Warriors (especially Terrence Jones and Montrezl Harrell).  Now I’m exaggerating my aforementioned thoughts because Harden pushed off Andre Igoudala.

Why do I mention this crashing season? Because it’s quite similar to the situation right now but don’t worry, things are still in better shape now then they were back then.

This season may be considered a crash because it is a huge fall-off relative to success of the previous season.  Their drop-off is considered the third-worst in NBA history when winning 60+ games in the season previous.  They’re in such rare air that only the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 1998-99 Chicago Bulls were net a mark even worse than this team.  Obviously, both team’s performance fell off a cliff after the loss of their superstars in LeBron James and Michael Jordan respectively.

One guy wanted to take his talents to South Beach and other decided to retire, for a second time.

But there’s still time to fix it…