News » A night at school of hard knocks leaves impression Lesson can be applied from Rockets' lone rout ROCKETS: Movement needed

A night at school of hard knocks leaves impression Lesson can be applied from Rockets' lone rout ROCKETS: Movement needed

A night at school of hard knocks leaves impression Lesson can be applied from Rockets' lone rout ROCKETS: Movement needed Rockets update

Nov. 21: Rocket 113, Kings 106.

Record: 8-6.

Today: Dallas at Toyota Center, 7:30 p.m.

TV/radio: FSH; 610 AM and 850 AM (Spanish).

The points were coming fast and easily, with the lead growing toward an early knockout. The Rockets were whipping the Dallas Mavericks for a while that night. It was the worst thing that could have happened to them.

This was the trap the Rockets always knew could be waiting but had avoided other than that one night.

The risk in their transformation from a halfcourt, low post-oriented style to this season's up-tempo, 3-point flinging team was that they would get so caught up in that style they would forget the dirty work.

They haven't, except for Nov. 10 in Dallas, when they rolled to a 17-point first-half lead so easily, they tricked themselves. As if falling for a sleight of hand distraction, their attention was so drawn to one part of the show, they missed the rest.

"It came so easy for us early in the game, ? we were just scoring," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "Everything was rolling. Then when they started making a little run, they got a little tougher defensively, we didn't know what to do. We had nothing to answer. You have to keep defending them."

The Rockets had made 22 of 36 shots when they had their largest lead. Beginning with an 0-for-5 finish to the first half, they made just 9 of 38 by the time the benches were cleared with 3:20 left. The Mavericks , who visit Toyota Center tonight, rolled through a 22-3 run to end the first half and start the second while the Rockets made just 1 of 15 shots.

Don't fall for it

By the time the Mavs finished a 121-103 rout, the Rockets had their only game of the season they could not have won in the final minutes.

The temptation that helped beat them that night, however, has always been there, with the Dallas experience perhaps helping them from falling into that trap again.

"I am surprised (that loss was the only one like it) because that's usually what happens if you're scoring easily," Adelman said. "You kind of relax and the team turns the screws up on you and starts taking things away. You don't have an answer because everything happened so easy. You stop moving as a team. We don't have the guy that is going to stop that momentum, where we can go and put them back on their heels a little bit. We're trying to do it as a group. We stop moving as a group, we're going to be hurting."

Won't work this week

The Rockets have come to understand they likely cannot win unless they play with consistent energy on both ends, and with ball movement and tempo on the offensive end. They have had stretches in which they fell short in some of those areas.

But they believe they cannot beat the caliber of teams they'll face this week - the Mavericks and then the Spurs on Friday - if they slack off from the plan, as they did in Dallas.

That made the lessons from Dallas more about the Rockets than even the Mavericks .

"I think there are things we can learn from that game," Luis Scola said. "We started pretty good, but we got to realize, we were hitting a lot of shots but weren't playing the way we wanted to. We've got to learn sometimes games are going to look good, but that doesn't mean we're playing good. We need to stick with what we're going to be good at, whether we're winning or losing.

"There will probably be more games like that. It's hard to play every game the right way. We need to learn what's our way to win. When we play that way, we're always in the game. As we always say, if we play the right way, we can beat anybody and we're going to compete against everybody."

When they didn't, they were blown out for the only time this season.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 26, 2009


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