1. The issues offensively are not just shooting. The shooting was dreadful in every way, inside, outside and from the line. But the Rockets were not limited to just 69 points on 28.8 percent shooting just because of their shooting. They also trudged through their offense with little movement or even ball movement. They did not get out on the break, despite Oklahoma City’s equally bad shooting. The Rockets took the win with the worst shooting percentage any team has had in a win since the Bulls shot 28.6 percent in February, 2000. They scored fewer points than any Rockets team has ever had in a win. But they knew the offense needed repairs and that the bad shooting was also about what happened before the Rockets took their shots.

2. James Harden’s missing 3-point tough has not been an issue with the Rockets winning nine of 10 games. It likely will return, justifying his and Kevin McHale’s insistence that it is not a concern. But given how much he has to do for the Rockets offensively, his 29 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season makes things clearly more difficult. Teams can back off him to better defend his drives. They can pack the lane on Dwight Howard. They can gather way too many long rebounds with Harden missing nearly five 3-pointers per game. It will likely come around, moving it down the list of Rockets concerns, but it is a concern.

3. Donatas Motiejunas did well enough in his first test against an All-Star caliber power forward this season, but Zach Randolph will offer a much tougher matchup Monday night in Memphis. Motiejunas has played well – moving the ball, defending and rebounding. He is not going to score as much while starting with Dwight Howard. That keeps Motiejunas on the perimeter, as opposed to getting low-post touches where he can be more effective offensively. He is not as effective around the rim as Terrence Jones, too often going up softly which played into the Thunder’s shot-blocking hands. Motiejunas had three of his shots in the first half blocked and needs to be a more effective finisher. Still, his primary job will be defending star power forwards.

4. The Rockets have a chance to have improved depth with Isaiah Canaan growing through his stint starting while Pat Beverley was out, but there will not be regular matchups that will allow the Rockets to play all three point guards. Canaan went from starting to not playing at all with Kevin McHale not wanting to match up defensively with a backcourt of Terry and Canaan and not wanting to increase Beverley’s minutes more than he had. That put Francisco Garcia in the rotation. With Jeremy Lin’s better size, Lin could have filled in as a backup shooting guard. Canaan is largely limited to defending point guards. There are plenty of teams that play point guards together, but for now, Terry looks like the backup point while Canaan is the third point guard on a team playing two points.

Read more: Five thoughts from Rockets’ low-scoring win over Thunder

Print Friendly