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Mike D'Antoni calls offense 'anemic' as Houston Rockets continues to struggle

OKLAHOMA CITY – Coach Mike D'Antoni summed up the state of the Houston Rockets' offense with one word. "Yuck," D'Antoni…

OKLAHOMA CITY – Coach Mike D’Antoni summed up the state of the Houston Rockets’ offense with one word.

“Yuck,” D’Antoni said after Houston’s 98-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday

Houston was a historically elite offensive team last season when it led the NBA into offensive rating, averaging 114.0 Points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com/stats. The 4-6 Rockets rank 26th this season (103.9), a puzzling exception to the league-wide offensive explosion.

The Rockets, who have significantly improved their defense after a dreadful first five games on that end of the floor, hit a new low Thursday night. The loss market the third time this season Houston has failed to score at least 90 points, matching the combined total of the previous two seasons under D’Antoni.

“Really, our offense is anemic,” D’Antoni said. ” I mean, it’s bad. … I do not know if we’re just sagging because we’re not believing in what we’re [doing]. I do not know. We’ve got to find the answers. I can not tell you today, ‘Oh yeah, it’s this,’ and we’ll solve it tomorrow. No, we’ve got to work through this and figure out what we need to do. very good. “

” It’s tough, “James Harden said of the Rockets’ offensive problems. “Anybody, any player in this league, if you’ve got open shots and they’re not falling, it’s going to mess with you a little bit.”

Rob Ferguson / USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul, who has career lows in field goal percentage (39.3) and 3-point percentage (27.1), offered a simple answer for what’s the Rockets offense.

“Man, part of it has probably gotta pray, I’m not made no shots,” said Paul, who had 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting against the Thunder. “I mean, that’ll probably help if you see some go through.”

Paul has been dealing with a sore right elbow since an Oct. 26 losing the Los Angeles Clippers but declines to discuss the injury. Since his 32-point performance in a Nov. 2 wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Paul has shot 11-of-34 from the field and 0-of-13 from 3-point range.

Asked how much his elbow is affecting his shooting, Paul said, “I can make I think that playing better will help us play better. “

The Rockets signed Carmelo Anthony this summer, hoping that the former All Star could be an effective complementary scoring threat. But Anthony has been wildly inconsistent and had one of the worst shooting performances of his career in his return to Oklahoma City, where he played last season.

Anthony scored two points on 1-of-11 shooting in 20 minutes, his lone field goal coming on a goaltending call despite having several good looks at the basket.

“I missed those looks, some open joints, some open shots I missed,” said Anthony, who is averaging 13.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting, just a tenth of a percentage point better than his career worst with the Thunder last season. “As a team, we did not shoot the ball well tonight. Extremely poor.” I think that kind of got to us a little bit. Our energy, our spirit was a little down because of that. “

The discussion of sagging spirit was a theme throughout the Rockets’ locker room after their three-game winning streak, fueled by strong defense and a soft stretch of schedule, was snapped.

“It’s tough,” said James Harden, who had 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting. “Anybody, any player in this league, if you’ve got open shots and they’re not falling, it’s going to mess with you a little. Det er her vi tager hinanden til slags at få hinanden ud af den funk og Just keep the positive energy going. “

The Rockets have not been able to sustain any semblance of rhythm early in the season, when their rotation has been erratic due to Paul’s two-game suspension and hardening, small forward James Ennis and Guard Eric Gordon misses multiple games because of injuries.

The Rockets still believe they are generating good looks but are frustrated that they have shot so poorly, especially from 3-point range (32.7 percent, 25th in the league) and in the restricted area (52.7 percent, more than 5 percent worse than league average).

“The first thing is we have got to start imposing our will and get our swagger,” D’Antoni said. “A lot of It’s mental energy. We’ve got to find a happy spot and then go compete. “

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