Injuries have Rockets stuck in seven-game losing streak
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 17: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket past DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Houston Rockets during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center on February 17, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images.

The Rockets are coming off a stretch of games where at times it has seemed like it isn’t a fair fight.

Injuries to starters Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker have stretched the Rockets thin and played a major part in the seven-game losing streak they are currently on. But at times, the Rockets (11-17) have shown some fight even if they haven’t been able to sustain it.

SAN ANTONIO, TX – JANUARY 16: Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets blocks shot of DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on January 16, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images.

“You’ve got to fight,” said center DeMarcus Cousins. “It’s a team of no excuses. One guy is down and the next guy has to step up. It’s the nature of this business. It’s the nature of this beast.

“Injuries are a part of the game; absence is a part of the game. The next guy has got to step up. That’s all we can really do.”

Still, the losing has caused some restless nights for first-year Rockets coach Stephen Silas, who has watched his team struggle with consistency throughout the season. Prior to this current losing streak, the Rockets had rattled off six straight wins and seven of eight before hitting this bump in the road.

Much of the Rockets’ struggles seemed to be tied to the injured ankle of Wood, who has become an emerging star in his first season in Houston. Wood has missed the last seven games with a sprained right ankle and the Rockets have not won in his absence.

Tucker has also now missed the last two games with an injured leg, and Oladipo has been out for two straight with an injured foot.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – FEBRUARY 17: Head coach Stephen Silas of the Houston Rockets calls a play during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on February 17, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images.

“Internally there are some sleepless nights for sure,” said Silas, whose team will be off Friday after the NBA postponed the game against the Mavericks due to severe weather in Houston. “You wake up in the middle of the night and jot something down, a different way we could have done things or whatever. Some of it is making sure the guys who are injured are doing what they are supposed to do.

“But internally, my nature is to be positive, number one, and to be a problem solver, number two. So, as each guy goes down or as each challenge arises based on our roster or who we are playing, it’s just my nature to not make it emotional and concentrate on the problem-solving part of it.”

The Rockets concluded a three-game East Coast road swing on Wednesday with a narrow 118-113 loss to Eastern Conference No.1 seed Philadelphia. The Rockets played lackadaisical in the first half of the loss, but made a strong run in the fourth quarter behind John Wall’s 28 points and seven assist performance.

The second half is something perhaps to build on as the Rockets look to resume play Saturday against the Pacers.

“We will use this as an example of what we can do when we put forth the effort,” Silas said. “We’re going to learn from that experience moving into this weekend.”

 Follow Terrance Harris on Twitter @terranceharris

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Terrance HarrisPro | College Sports Editor

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....