It’s hard to describe how much NBA players hate losing games. They set such high standards for themselves that it’s not in their nature to expect it. It’s tough for everyone, but especially very good players at the tail-end of their primes. They expect to be competing at the highest levels of the playoffs and when that’s not happening, they understandably get frustrated. Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon is the poster-child for this kind of player in the NBA right now.
“This has been happening all year,” said Eric Gordon after Houston’s 11th consecutive loss. “We struggle to get 100 points. It’s a lot of different things. We hurt ourselves in so many ways. It’s just a lot to overcome.”
Gordon has been competing at the very highest levels of the NBA playoffs for the past few seasons. This new Rockets team is a swift change from that. It’s not what he signed up for when he chose to play in Houston in 2016. Instead playing for an experienced hand like Mike D’Antoni, he’s with a second-year head coach in Stephen Silas. Instead of being surrounded by All-Stars and veteran role players, he’s surrounded by rookies and other unproven young players.
“All you can do is control what you can control,” said Gordon. “I know when I get out there, I really try to get things going. Not just individually, but for everyone else to get involved. That second unit’s really played very well. It’s just tough man. It really is.”
Gordon had no illusions about this year being easy for Houston. At media day, he talked about how it would require a lot of patience. However, the Rockets again stand at the bottom of the NBA in win percentage and there doesn’t seem be improvement with every game.
“We have our moments where we do play well in stretches, but not enough to win a game,” continued the Rockets veteran. “Of course, we’re young, but sometimes that’s just not an excuse. We’re just going through a tough time.”
After seemingly getting the turnovers under control, Houston turned the ball over 23 times on Sunday. The Rockets made countless mistakes on the defensive end as well. They also just seemed to lack a cohesion about them and it manifested itself most on the offensive end.
“We have more issues than just turnovers,” said Gordon. “Like I said, it’s always been a struggle for us all year to get 100 points. As you can see, we had 23 turnovers. It’s hard to beat any team like that. We don’t’ really shoot the ball. All the little things. There’s little things that we don’t do to help on the other end. Like I said, it’s just tough.”
It’s hard to see Gordon being on this Rockets roster past the trade deadline. There will be plenty of suitors for his services among playoff teams and adding a first round pick is better long-term for Houston than keeping Gordon on the roster. He certainly sounds like someone who’s looking around unsatisfied with his situation, so things may come to a head early.