Imagine if an aerospace engineer built a rocket to Mars.
Imagine if that Rocket made it into Mars’ atmosphere, but the engines failed and crashed immediately once that happened.
Now imagine if the engineer had just made small modifications to a design that almost made it. One should expect success right?
However, the engineer decides to throw away the blueprint to his original design and change everything. This time, however, instead of reaching Mars, the Rocket explodes prior to leaving Earth’s atmosphere.
This is the story of the 2019-2020 Houston Rockets.
The Los Angeles Lakers cruised past the Houston Rockets in blowout fashion by a score of 119-96. LeBron James had a typical LeBron James type performance, scoring 29 points, dishing out seven assists, grabbing eleven rebounds, and shooting an efficient 9/18 from the field while making three of his 3-point shot attempts.
This blowout victory from LA featured a game where Anthony Davis wasn’t even a key part of the offense. Davis only scored 13 points on only nine shot attempts but was still productive defensively and on the boards.
The Lakers rotational pieces once again stepped up and rose to the occasion. Every starter was in double-digit scoring on extremely efficient shooting as a collective unit. Kyle Kuzma was sensational off the bench as well, scoring 17 points on 5/9 shooting while hitting 3/6 of his three-point shots. He was truly the best player who was wearing #0 on the back of his jersey on the court tonight.
This leads us to the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets honestly defeated themselves in this game. James Harden did all he could, scoring 30 points on 12/20 shooting, but he isn’t necessarily off the hook for this series for the Rockets. Last game, it was very similar, except instead of Westbrook not showing up, Harden was nowhere to be found, shooting 2/11 from the field.
This game, however, it was Russell Westbrook, who yet again disappointed in an elimination game in the playoffs. He scored 10 points on an abysmal 4/13 shooting and quite frankly, if one wants to be recognized as a superstar in this league (something Russell Westbrook isn’t), they must play better when it matters most. Russell Westbrook time and time again hasn’t done that and is one of if not the worst playoff performer among stars in NBA history.
So what is the plan for the Rockets moving forward?
Do they run it back with this dysfunctional rocket, do they retweak the design, or do they hit self-destruct and go on a full rebuild?
Time will tell.