Rockets seek win No. 2 against OKC, which gave up win No. 1

NBA

For the second consecutive season, Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas is dealing with an extended losing streak.

Last season, it was 20 games in February and March.

Entering Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, the Rockets have dropped 12 consecutive games.

“It’s right at the beginning of the season, and we’re trying to find ourselves and trust ourselves,” Silas said when asked about the differences in how he’s handled the two streaks. “The message is the same. It’s the process. It’s the work, the preparation, the trust. All of those things and trusting that if you do things the right way, we’ll get out of the streak.”

Houston’s lone win this season came at home Oct. 22 against the Thunder in both teams’ second games of the season.

That win, 124-91, was decisive.

Since then, the Rockets have lost their dozen games by an average of more than 14 points per game, with only three being decided by fewer than 10 points. Their last two losses have been by an average of 30 points, including Monday’s 136-102 loss in Memphis.

Turnovers have plagued Houston all season, including the 17 the team suffered in the loss to the Grizzlies — with nine in the first quarter.

Silas said his team needs to relax a bit and stop worrying constantly about turnovers, as pressing to avoid them can sometimes lead to more.

“We had a lot of frustration as far as our turnovers, ‘Here we go again’-type stuff,” Silas said. “They’re trying so hard to make the right play and frustration creeps in.”

The Thunder come into Wednesday’s game on a two-game losing streak after winning four straight.

Oklahoma City’s leading scorer, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is coming off a season-low 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting in Monday’s 103-90 loss to Miami.

It was Gilgeous-Alexander’s third-worst scoring performance in 118 games with the Thunder over the last three seasons.

Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said his team’s recent competitiveness has put additional attention on Gilgeous-Alexander from opposing defenses.

“We’re competing in a lot of these games, and what happens when you do that is teams are gonna start to scheme,” Daigneault said. “Josh (Giddey) is getting schemed right now, Shai obviously has been schemed since the beginning of the year, and I think one of the challenges for developing creators is figuring out how you’re getting plays, and all the different things teams can throw at you, and then calibrate in real time as it comes at you.”

The Thunder have been led recently by Luguentz Dort, who has scored 20 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time in his career.

“Lu’s just getting better,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.

The Thunder and Rockets will play twice more this season, playing back-to-back games Nov. 29 and Dec. 1.

Kevin Porter Jr. is questionable for the Rockets after he suffered a left thigh contusion in the second half of Monday’s loss to Memphis. Eric Gordon, who missed Monday’s game with right groin tightness, is expected to return.

–Field Level Media

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