Christian Wood had a strong game on his return but it wasn’t enough to put the Rockets back on the winning side as their losing streak hit a franchise record of 18 games with one loss to the Warriors on Wednesday.
The results were the same though: The Rockets’ losing streak stretched from the start of Christian Wood’s injury to the end and now beyond.
Wood and Danuel House Jr. returned, but the Skets kept rolling and hit a franchise record of 18 straight defeats, with the Warriors smoothly cruising to a 104-98 router at the Toyota Center on Wednesday as the Rockets couldn’t ride a wave of waves, the result of last night’s ultimately failed comeback If the quest for the long-awaited victory, unfulfilled since Wood’s ankle injury on February 4th in Memphis, remained unattainable, the smaller goals showed some signs of fort stepped.
After their 20-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. and K.J. Martin, while Porter was again promising on Wednesday, the Rockets were working to remove rust from Wood and House, even in limited minutes.
Wood was particularly productive, making 8 of his 12 shots, getting 21 points and nine rebounds in Achieving 26 minutes.
He also showed why he was missed so much when the losing streak hadn’t made it clear enough.
In less than four minutes, he dropped Draymond Green with a crossover dribble and pulled a sweater over himself as Green rattled to his feet. However, the time also remained evident. On the next possession, Wood fouled Green on the same move, but missed all three free throws and fell off the line on 5 of 11.
House made 4 of 8 shots for 11 points in 24 minutes and often went to the edge , although initially struggling to reach the finish line.
Even when they were back, the Rockets remained understaffed with their starting place of John Wall and Victor Oladipo and often played four rookies at the same time. The Warriors were without rookie James Wiseman and Eric Paschal facing the NBA’s health and safety protocols, along with their seasonal absence from Star Guard Klay Thompson.
However, the Warriors still had a lot to do, even after Stephen Curry ran out at the end of the third quarter.
Curry, who had a relatively quiet game with 18 points and only made 2 of 11 3-pointers, had stepped off the floor after missing a 3 on the buzzer and over the metal -Riser tripped on the Rockets bench. He fell and landed hard on his lower back and needed help as he slowly walked to the Warriors’ locker room, where he was disfellowshipped with a bruised tailbone.
However, the Warriors still had many offensive options: Jordan Poole scored 23 points off the bench, while Kelly Oubre Jr. finished 19 and Green with a triple double of 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
They had started offensively well enough that they were 21:18 ahead 6½ minutes after the start of the game had. They got no stopovers with the warriors who regularly found open 3s and fast layups. Green took them apart in half the square and routinely found tailors.
When the missiles went to their bank, the warriors took off. The Rockets only made 3 out of 9 shots to end the first quarter and then only made 6 out of 19 shots in the second quarter, hitting a season low of 17 points. The Warriors ended halfway up 27: 9 and led by 24 points. In the first half, Oubre scored the first goal of the second half, with Oubre leading to an undisputed layup.
However, the Rockets fought a bit defensively and scored enough points from Wood and Porter to contain the Warriors’ lead. After trailing as much as 26, the Rockets closed at 14, following 86-71 towards the fourth quarter.
They didn’t appear to be a threat to 3-point fires as they had against the Hawks. After doing 3 of 5 3-pointers to start with, the missiles did 5 of 22 3-pointers the rest of the way.
They were within 14 of the Warriors early enough in the fourth quarter to have a Longshot chance to have. But that never seemed likely or beyond a very long, long shot. That run never came, but Wood played basketball, which is still a huge improvement.
Jonathan Feigen has been the Rockets beatwriter since 1998 and a basketball fan since Willis Reed. He became a sports writer because the reporter who was supposed to cover the University of Delaware basketball team decided to play another season of college lacrosse instead and never looked back.
Feigen, who has won APSE, APME, and United States Basketball Writers Association awards from El Campo to Houston, came to Texas in 1981 to cover the Rice Birds. He was a sports editor in Garland before moving to Dallas to cover all of the US’s last hurray, Southwest Conference to SMU after the death penalty.
After joining the Houston Chronicle in 1990, Feigen reported on the downfall of the SWC, the rise of the Big 12 and the Rockets in their best championship.
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