Tough time functioning

Why are the Rockets scared to play basketball without James Harden?

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James Harden can find his shot whenever on the court. He is averaging 38.1 points per game which is first in the league. Harden was criticized for not taking enough shots on Christmas Day. But, is it really Harden's fault why the Rockets lost that game against the Warriors? No, because his teammates should pick up the slack!

Russell Westbrook has looked great for nine straight games but struggled Christmas Day against the Warriors. At times it looks Westbrook is playing in panic mode instead of attack mode. He struggled with or without Harden on the court. Westbrook still needs to work on his confidence even when shots are not falling. Another thing Westbrook still struggles with is forcing shots that are not there. Westbrook must stay courageous, optimistic, aware, and know to pick his moments.

Danuel House must make shots when they matter. House shoots over 40% from the field but struggles when his number is called. Harden would love to see House make those shots when doubled late in games. The only way House can become a great player is when he shows up in big moments. If House wants to be a spot up shooter, he can not shoot 35% from the three-point line.

Austin Rivers can be a tough watch at times because of the talent he is hiding. Rivers has everything in his repertoire to become a great player. He honestly has a good-looking crossover and shooting form in the NBA. It is just sad that he never displays it in game play. Rivers shooting the ball less than 15 times a game is a crime. Sometimes it looks like Rivers is scared to touch the ball. There is no reason for Rivers just to make himself a spot up shooter in games. Rivers is averaging 8 points per game which is an underachievement for his skill set. It is extremely important for Rivers to step up more when Harden gets doubled. He has the talent to compete for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year every season.

Ben McLemore had his bright spots this season but can not stay consistent. By McLemore not staying consistent means he is non-existent in games. There are times earlier this season when he struggled to get minutes or score zero points. This could hurt the Rocket's bench in a dramatic way. He can continue to be the bright spot for the Rockets when confident. McLemore is averaging 10.2 points per game this season. He has not averaged this much since his second season with the Kings. He had a career high against Toronto with 35 points. One thing McLemore must do is make plays when shots are not falling. When McLemore stays active defensively, he becomes a problem for other teams. He has finally found his NBA home with the Rockets.

The Rockets rank dead last in bench play this season. This bench is also shooting right under 40% on the season. If the Rockets want a chance to compete for an NBA Championship, the bench must be better. Daryl Morey could make possible moves for free agents or trades to help the cause.

NOTE: Eric Gordon comes back Tuesday versus the Pelicans.

Jeff Green just cleared waivers with the Utah Jazz. He could be helpful to the bench if Morey decides to pick him up.

Rockets just signed William Howard from the G-League. He is a 6'8 lengthy shooter.

How the news of Kobe Bryant's death is impacting us all

Where were you when you heard the news?

I had just gotten home from coaching my daughter's 10-11 year-old basketball game.We got crushed by Coach Tackett and his daughter Eloise.It was 28-6. After the game I told Eloise that if she kept working hard, anticipating that she would be tall like her daddy, she could be great at this game.

I rolled up to the house and as I walked into the front door, I checked the various notifications on my phone, seeing what I had missed and I saw the notification, "Kobe Bryant believed dead in tragic helicopter crash." As I made it into the family room, my wife Julee said, "Did you see the news that Kobe Bryant died?" I told her I had just seen it and then began to process the news over the afternoon.

Where were you? What was going through your mind? As a pastor here in the heart of the city, with a passion for sports and a podcast (www.visionforlife.org) that brings faith and sports together, I immediately begin to process the pain that was being felt. Like a shockwave that was rippling from the mountains of Calabasas, the nation and world were feeling the waves of pain.

Last night and today, as I've watched ESPN and listened to the radio, there is a great deal of reflection on Kobe's influence on us all, through his game and his life after the NBA. But beyond that, we are all seemingly taking inventory, realizing the life is short. It is but a breath.

As part of my career, I've had to do funerals that it is hard for which to prepare. I've done funerals ranging from a one-day old baby boy to a 95 year-old World War II bomber pilot. Last week when Cesar Cortes of Bellaire High School lost his life, we hosted a memorial candle-light vigil and then his funeral. What do you do when you find yourself at the bottom of the pit of grief? What do you do when someone in your life loses someone they love? What do we as a society do when an icon like Kobe Bryant loses his life at such an early age?

From my experience of walking people through loss and pain through the years, here are a few take-a-ways to help us know how to move forward in our pain.

1.When you don't have the words, don't say anything. There is what we call in pastoral ministry the "Ministry of Presence." The ministry of presence is our simply sitting with people and being present. We don't know what to say, but we are compelled to be with them in their pain.

When Job from the Bible lost his loved ones, his friends came around him and sat with him for seven days without saying a word. This is the ministry of presence. It was when they began to speak to try to make sense of it, that things went sideways.

If you are a person in grief, and there are those coming around you to love on you and sit with you, I want to prepare you to have grace for their words, as we don't always know what to say, and when we force it, sometimes it comes out wrong.

2.Don't waste the pain. It's humbling to hear the reflections that athletes, commentators and callers are sharing about Kobe. The fact that his daughter Gianna was on that helicopter, as well as other parents and children makes the pain of this moment extreme. As a result, our hearts are heavy with what could have been and should have been for Gianna, her sisters, her mom and her dad.

Moments like this make us take inventory in our own lives and do a long, hard evaluation. Maybe you are longing for an improved relationship with your son. Or you want to seek to repair your relationship with your wife. Maybe you have felt the need to make a career change and there is something in your gut saying, "It's time to make a change." Don't waste the pain of this moment and seek to get better. Life is short. Life is fragile and if this has taught us anything, we see that none of us is immune from suffering, loss and death. Don't waste the pain, but instead see that life is a real gift.

3.Humility wins the day. I often teach on relationships and I ask my audience, "Would you rather be right, or right?" You see, you can be right on all the facts and the figures of life. You can be right on the issues. You can be right in a fight with you spouse. And, you can be all alone.

It takes a bigger person to humble themselves and see the long view of relationships.Those who take the long view choose to be right over the long haul, versus right in the moment. To be right over the long-haul, you will have to forfeit some of your own rights and be willing to take a loss in the moment to win the greater race.

I want to encourage you to use moments like this to take inventory and see it as a catalyst for positive change in your life.This would probably be the best way to honor the loss of this legend. Honor his work-ethic and improve your game at work. Honor his love for his family by prioritizing yours and communicating your love to them. Humble yourself and draw near to those that are the most important to you. Make the most of today and hug those you love.


Roger Patterson is the author of A Minute of Vision for Men: 365 Motivational Moments to Kick-Start Your Day, pastor of West University Baptist & Crosspoint Church – Bellaire, and podcast host of Vision for Life Radio: Where Faith & Sports Collide (www.visionforlife.org) Follow Roger on Twitter @rogerpatterson.

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