News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-10-28

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-10-28

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-10-28The Rockets have said the words throughout the preseason, but never as much as in the past few days. They are, they have said often and again after they dropped their season opener to the Trail Blazers, "a work in progress."

They might have made some progress in rallying from a 20-point deficit to within six in the fourth quarter, but that won't be enough. And they won't have much time to waste.

The league gave the Rockets a particularly brutal schedule to start the season, following the opener in Portland with the second half of a back-to-back against the Warriors. They get the loaded Blazers again for their home opener, go to Utah -- the site of so many of their postseason nightmares -- and then come home for the Lakers.

That raises the very real possibility of an 0-5 start, even if they do make considerable progress.

"Usually, every team has one All-Star or two All-Stars, or someone you rely on who has been the main guy, who knows that role and has done that role," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "We're going into this trying to find out who that's going to be. That's not an easy step to make, not that they can't do it. I've seen guys make big steps. That's what we have to have happen.

"I've always said it's a players' league. I learned a long time ago, you're a lot better coach when you have better players. That's why I say we think we have some young guys who are going to step up and make a stride. But you have to put them in positions and give them an opportunity, give them a chance to grow and see what they will be."

The problem is, the Rockets don't have time to wait for young guys to grow. They will struggle early, but they have to find wins somewhere, or making that growth will be that much more difficult.

"We're a work in progress," forward Shane Battier said. "We have a lot of work to do. But what I think we learned about ourselves is we're a team that is going to play hard. We're going to scrap. We're going to claw. We're going to play with energy. We're going to play unselfish. If we can do those things and play smart, we have a chance to do something. We have to bring it all together to be the team we are capable of being."

BLAZERS 96, ROCKETS 87: For three quarters, the Rockets were on their way to not only a thorough rout of a loss, but to a long night to wonder if that was what they could expect of the next six months. What they got instead was a lesson perhaps more valuable than any in the month of preseason games and practices. The Rockets rallied back from a 20-point deficit to within six before losing. But they also demonstrated to themselves how they must play, flying to as many fast-break points (eight) as in the first three quarters combined, swarming defensively and generally bringing the urgency that they must have long before they trail by 20. They scored 31 points in that fourth quarter, going with Aaron Brooks and the four backups who were blitzed in the second quarter. The trick will be to do that when both teams are playing their starters and neither is enjoying such a large cushion.

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Added: October 28, 2009


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