THE HOUSTON ROCKETS ENDED THEIR 20TH STRAIGHT LOSING STREAK ON MONDAY WITH A WIN OVER THE TORONTO RAPTORS.
Even with James Harden on the court, Houston struggled to win the championship last season.
The Rockets’ season has taken a turn for the worse, with James traded, players injured, and consecutive losses.
Their losing streak never appears to end. Since February 6, when they were defeated by the San Antonia Spurs.
This comes just 24 hours after they suffered their emotional 20th straight loss, extending their losing streak to the longest in franchise history.
They finally got the night they’d been waiting for: a win over the Raptors to end their long losing streak.
Houston’s last victory came on February 5 against the Memphis Grizzlies, when they scored 115 points.
Then they were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs, 111-106. They were never able to win after the loss.
In their previous game, the Rockets were four seconds away from their first victory since Feb. 4 when they were defeated by the Thunder 114-112.
They lost by two points, extending their losing streak to 20 games, the longest in franchise history.
The first victory after 20 consecutive defeats
These defeats were devastating not only for the players but also for Houston’s rookie head coach, Stephen Silas.
In his postgame news conference on Sunday, he was visibly upset. He was speechless and upset when asked about his losing streak.
AFTER 20 GAMES, WHAT APPEARED TO BE A NEVER-ENDING DREAM CAME TO AN END.
On March 22, Monday, they defeated the Raptors by 18 points, just 24 hours after their heartbreaking loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
To break the streak, John Wall recorded his first Triple-double in five years. Wall finished the game with 19 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds.
It was his first triple-double since February 5, 2016. This contributed to the Rockets’ first victory since February 4.
By the midpoint of the third quarter, all five Houston starters had scored in double figures.
Jae’Sean Tate led the team with 22 points, Sterling Brown had 20, Christian Wood had 19, and Danuel House Jr. had 12.
Houston led 88-86 at the end of the third quarter and opened the fourth quarter with a 9-1 run.
Houston got off to a shaky start, with Wall getting a technical foul for the third time in three games after arguing with an official five minutes into the first quarter.
Wood’s third personal foul came less than three minutes into the second quarter, limiting him to only eight scoreless first-half minutes.
For the first half, it appeared that Houston would extend their losing streak to another game.
Houston pulled through after the first half and went on to win the game, snapping their losing streak. They handed the Toronto Raptors their ninth straight defeat.
Houston was on the verge of breaking the record for the longest losing streak.
Houston set a franchise record for the longest losing streak on March 21.
They were tied for the ninth-longest in NBA history, and the longest since Philadelphia’s record-breaking 28-game losing streak in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
The Rockets were six wins away from breaking the single-season record and eight wins away from breaking the record for the longest losing streak.
However, their win on Monday night snapped the streak and prevented them from breaking the record.
This victory has given Houston’s players and, especially, the team’s coach, a reason to smile after the previous night’s loss.
Over the last 24 hours, several currents and former NBA coaches have reached out to Silas, offering encouragement and support.
Those discussions lifted Silas’ spirits, which soared when the final buzzer sounded Monday night in the Toyota Center, and the first-year coach embraced Houston point guard John Wall.
“Winning in March of this crazy season is indescribable,” Silas said. “I’m so proud of these guys.”
When you’re going through it and fighting like hell.
And you can see the disappointment on the faces of the players after loss after loss after loss.
Then you walk into the locker room after today’s game, and everyone is just overjoyed. It’s cool and awesome.
“Yeah, whatever, I was in a bad mood yesterday.” It seems like only a week ago.
We reassemble, and yeah, it feels a lot better because I know it feels great for them.
Whatever for me, but I’m just happy for those guys who don’t have to hear about it or deal with it.”
The cause of the losing streak
Houston had won seven of its previous eight games and was off to a good start to the season.
However, star center Christian Wood sprained his ankle in that win over the Grizzlies, putting him out for the next 17 games.
Several other key Houston players were sidelined during the losing streak, including guards Victor Oladipo, Eric Gordon, and John Wall.
The Rockets and team forward P.J. Tucker have also agreed to part ways.
After refusing to play in the first game following the All-Star break, he was eventually traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Because of the foregoing, Houston was forced to play in the NBA with as few as eight players in some games during the streak.
Nonetheless, they made every effort and played every game in the hopes of winning.
“We haven’t been healthy after losing 20 games in a row, but that’s no excuse.”
Because of health and safety protocols and injuries,” said John Wall, who had a triple-double in the game.
“We just went out there and competed regardless of what was going on.”
After taking the lead late in the second quarter, the Rockets never relinquished it.
Houston forward Danuel House Jr. beat the halfcourt buzzer with a 51-foot shot, increasing the Rockets’ lead to five points.
“I was thinking, ‘Whoa, maybe this is the night.'” “Perhaps,” Silas said.
“There have been games where we only hit four 3-pointers the entire game.” Now we’ll take a half-court shot.
Something special seemed to be on the horizon. A win after so many losses in a row is special for us.”
“It’s about damn time, man,” Christian Wood, who scored 19 points in the second half, said. “It’s almost time.”
Houston has a long way to go before they can fully celebrate, but this victory means a lot to them.