News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-11-17

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-11-17

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-11-17The Rockets insist they learned a lesson from their trip spent losing to the Kings and beating the Lakers. They will get their chance to prove it.

Since beating the Lakers, they moved on to a pair of back-to-backs, playing the teams with the NBA's best records -- the Suns and Hawks -- in the first games and a pair of far less attention-grabbing opponents -- the Timberwolves and Kings -- in the second half of back-to-backs.

The Rockets contend that the loss to the Kings, as well as Sacramento played, demonstrated that they cannot let up in their intensity against any team. Against the Lakers, as with wins against the Trail Blazers and Jazz, the Rockets brought the effort and focus they must have and got the win.

This week will offer a test of whether they can do it every night, and particularly in circumstances less attention-grabbing than a game against the reigning NBA champions in their first visit to Staples Center since last season's Game 7.

"If we play with energy and we play with togetherness, we can beat anybody," forward Shane Battier said. "When we don't have that togetherness and that passion, we can get beat by anybody. That's our team in a nutshell.

"There are times you will naturally be a little fatigued, but you can always think the game. Thinking the game doesn't take any energy. Even when our physical energy may be low, we can bring mental energy. That's what we lacked in Sacramento, but had in Los Angeles. Just think the game, run our sets, stay disciplined, things that don't take much effort, that are concentration, those are the things we have to do every single night."

SUNS 111, ROCKETS 105: The Rockets began the game better than they had any game this season. They scored 21 points in the first six minutes, 34 in the first quarter and led by as many as 15. The key, however, would not be how they started but how they finished, and that's where the Rockets came up short. Leading by two with four minutes left, the Rockets made one of their next seven shots, while the Suns took a seven-point lead into the last half-minute parade to the free-throw line. After making 56 percent of their shots in the first quarter, the Rockets made 32.1 percent in the fourth as the game slid away.

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Added: November 17, 2009


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