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Moore: Rockets’ Ceiling Depends on Fixing Their Terrible Defense

Dec 13, 2018 4:58 PM EST

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Paul, James Harden

Betting odds: Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets

  • Spread: Rockets -5.5
  • Over/under: 224.5
  • Tip: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TNT

>> All odds as of 11 a.m. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

The Rockets are a mess.

Offense, defense, chemistry, the works. Compared to where they were last year — a historic level of offensive efficiency — this year’s sixth-ranked offense is only so-so.

The real issue, however, is defense.

Houston accomplished something rare last season, combining one of the best offenses ever under Mike D’Antoni while also being able to get stops. That’s gone, as Houston ranks 27th in Defensive Rating.

There was a thought that once they were back to something resembling full health, that would regulate itself. There were signs in early November. But then it fell off again.

More concerning is how many areas with which they’ve had problems. The Rockets ranks 23rd in points off turnovers allowed per 100 possessions, 25th in second-chance points allowed per 100 possessions and 29th in opponent points in the paint.