Mission Control: Systems Failing

Written by: Donald Tolbert | SFL Sports Blogger 

There is no other way to describe the Rockets current level of play other than "Unacceptable".
The question is where does the weight need to be placed.

Typically as the season progresses you see a team trend towards an identity. It seems the
Rockets are forgetting who they are. True they have struggled from the field as a unit shooting
wise, but it's the will to compete that is getting exposed.

I hear Harden often talk about defense being the key. He has to know it starts with him. Not just
in the post where he is very formidable, but out on the perimeter where he is becoming a liability.
Teams are literally switching to him on the pick and roll knowing that if you make a hard run at
him in either direction it's a blow by. That sets the tone for the whole team. You can't repeatedly
get ole'd on defense and turn around and get in your teammates face the first time they make
the wrong switch like that's the reason for the teams shortcomings. It rings hollow.

In years past you could excuse some of this by saying he has to carry the burden on offense.
That's not the situation this year. Russ has shown he has found his flow within this offense and
they prove to be a powerful one two combo. Harden was known for his solid defensive skills
back in his days in OKC. It's time for a recalibration. It seems Harden is taking more time getting
used to a true partner on the floor of his caliber. That said games like last night are unacceptable
at any phase of progress. There's a certain level of pride and urgency that must be displayed.
This isn't an outright system failure, but the alarms are ringing. The Rockets and Harden have a
great opportunity this year. The season won't wait forever for them to seize it.

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