The Houston Rockets have been a trendy pick to be serious championship contenders this season among NBA experts. Several respected writers, Zach Lowe included, had them as viable threats to challenge the Golden State Warriors and make it to the Finals. They went to the Western Conference Finals last season, after all, and are healthier and deeper headed into this season.
... so what the hell has happened?
Rockets: 1st team in NBA history to start season with 3 straight 20-point losses;— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 2, 2015
That's actually, truly stunning. Think about all the terrible teams who have played in the NBA just in the past decade alone. The 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats, who won just seven games that lockout shortened season, actually opened the season with a win. Last year's Philadelphia 76ers, who started the year 0-17, lost only one of their first three games by 20 or more points. That the Houston Rockets, expected to be one of the best teams in the NBA this year, are the team to finally snag this atrocious record is shocking.
The latest was Sunday's game against the Miami Heat, in which they led by 21 points in the third quarter before completely blowing that lead in the fourth quarter. The Heat won the fourth quarter 34-14.
HOU second half box score pic.twitter.com/Ht8NxoitXU— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) November 2, 2015
Houston fans are understandably upset.
I'm telling you, James Harden is over-thinking every single moment in this game.— The Dream Shake (@DreamShakeSBN) November 2, 2015
do it houston. lose by 20 three times to start a season. just do it.— The Dream Shake (@DreamShakeSBN) November 2, 2015
It's clearly way too early to assume doom and gloom. The 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks won 67 games after starting the season with four straight losses. Three or four games is nothing in the NBA and Houston should be expected to break out of this strange funk at any moment now. In particular, James Harden won't keep shooting 22 percent from the floor and 3-of-32 from behind the arc like he has so far.
Still, this is a troubling way to start the season and one literally no one could have predicted.