It's a make or miss league

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Houston lets one go in Brooklyn 123-116

Sometimes, basketball is as simple as who makes their shots as the Rockets learned Friday night in Brooklyn. The Rockets couldn't buy a three-pointer (12 of 48 or 25%) while the Nets seemingly were shooting into the Pacific Ocean (19 of 32 or 59.4%). Houston certainly has a lot to clean up defensively (like in transition where they allowed the Nets to go 7 for 8 on fastbreak opportunities), but the disparity in how they seem to be the coldest team every night squaring off against the hottest team doesn't read as something sustainable. The Rockets are shooting 31% from three-point range (74/239) while their opponents have shot 43.2% from three (86/199) this season.

The Rockets actually started off the game playing really well and seemingly focused defensively, tallying a 15-point lead with 8:21 remaining in the 2nd quarter. That lead quickly evaporated as Houston went 1-8 from three-point range and turned the ball over 5 times to allow the Nets to go on a 14-1 run to end the half. From there, the Rockets never quite recovered.

Houston made a run in the fourth quarter to get the lead down to 6, but after a sequence in which P.J. Tucker tried to draw a charge and wasn't whistled followed by a Jarrett Allen layup and Kyrie Irving three, the lead was back up to 11 for the Nets and the Rockets never made another strong charge.

Star of the game: A better phrasing for this category tonight may be "Who played the least bad?" for which the honor goes to Danuel House, who tallied 15 points tonight on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and 3 of 6 shooting from three-point range. House has become a wildly reliable shooter and contributor for the Rockets this season and has placed any doubts about his starting role to bed. His energy, floor spacing, ball-handling, and rebounding have been major assets to Houston this season.

Honorable mention: If James Harden had shot just a little bit better than 2 for 16 from three-point range tonight, the Rockets win this game and there's no way he's not the star of the game. While it seemed like Harden's shooting struggles had gone away after last game, they came back to haunt him tonight in a major way. It's highly unlikely Harden finishes the season shooting under 20% from three-point range, but the Rockets need him to turn it around quickly.

Key moment: Houston allowed Brooklyn to go on a 14-1 run to end the first half, resulting in the loss of their double-digit lead.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Miami on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. to take on the Heat.

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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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