It's been obvious for some time now that the Houston Rockets, as currently constructed, are broken. You don't even have to look at their record (though that helps) to see the problems. Just look at the roster. Outside of James Harden -- who is maladjusted in his own way -- who would you want on your team? Who would you want to compete with? What is the organizing principle of this organization? Is there one?
For years now, we've studied the pro-analytics approach of GM Daryl Morey. Since taking over the Rockets in 2007, the team has never finished below .500. This even when the wheels were coming off the Yao Ming-Tracy McGrady pairing, even when the league was stepping in to block perfectly legal trades, even when Kevin Martin was ostensibly their best player. This is impressive.
But you do eventually have to look at the Rockets' record this season, and it's impossible not to notice that it is currently two games below .500 at 37-39. The team sits in eighth, in a virtual tie with the Utah Jazz, after having lost its last three games in a row (the last of which to the Jazz). And not for nothing, but players like Michael Beasley are getting 20 minutes a game. The Raptors lost to this team after Harden went off for 40 points. Get mad.
Toronto, meanwhile, is just resting and waiting. Kyle Lowry might be back tonight. Patrick Patterson may rest his aching ankle. Terrence Ross, with a left thumb injury, may rest as well. Still -- still -- no word on DeMarre Carroll (hail hosanna). But the Raptors, even with these injuries and such, are not broken. Their position is secure.
You recall what happened last time these two teams met, now read Stephen Campbell's preview here and get fired up.
And then, head to the comments.