• Brian L. Barefield

Rockets Break Five-Game Losing Streak As Wall Returns To The Lineup

Photo Credit/ Houston Rockets

Although his mouth was covered with a mask which is standard protocol for NBA coaches and players due to COVID-19, Houston Rockets Head Coach Stephen Silas still flashed a smile to begin his postgame press conference on Wednesday night.

The smile was something that the media and fans had not seen in a while due to the Rockets losing very close games over the last month and a half of play, but for the first time in the last six games Houston came out on top with a 102-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks to break a five-game losing streak.

“Tonight, was a pretty complete game on both ends of the floor,” said Silas when asked about his team not collapsing in the fourth quarter like they have in the past. “It wasn’t just the execution on the offensive end. It was also the execution on the defensive end as well.”

The Rockets knew that it was going to take a complete team effort to stop the Mavericks superstar point guard Luka Doncic who had led Dallas on a five-game winning streak before Wednesday night’s loss including a win over the best team in the NBA on Monday in the Utah Jazz.

Doncic, 22, got off to a very nice start scoring 11 first quarter points hitting four out of the six shots he attempted. Although the Mavs trailed by just one point heading into the second quarter, it seemed as if the 2021 All-Star was destined to have one of those special games.

Houston would respond to the challenge proposed by Doncic and held him to just 12 points over the final three quarters making just five shots and missing all six shots from three-point range.

“You can’t do the same thing to him the whole game,” Coach Silas said about his defensive strategy on Doncic. “That’s a credit to our guys because they were on every adjustment that we made defensively. They were the best we have been all season as far as adjusting and implementing the change.”

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

One other change that the Rockets were happy to make was inserting point guard John Wall back into the starting lineup. Wall, who had missed the previous four games with a knee and hip injury, returned and brought the spark needed for Houston as he finished the game with 31 points and seven assists.

“I am a competitor and I like to compete,” Wall elaborated about going over his limited minutes restriction that was set by the team’s medical staff. “I enjoy playing with these guys. At time it gets difficult because we are all trying to figure each other out...But we like playing and competing with each other.”

Christian Wood (22 points-10 rebounds) and Kelly Olynyk (10 points-18 rebounds) both had a double-double to help the Rockets and guard Kevin Porter Jr. chipped in 14 points.

Houston will head out to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

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