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Five Early Surprises: The Rockets Don't Force Turnovers

Basketball Prospectus' Bradford Doolittle ran a piece yesterday about five very early surprises in the NBA. The Rockets going 0-3 was a surprise, but what is the surprise fueling the surprise? You might be...surprised. Okay, I'll stop:

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4. Houston Rockets: The Rockets are averaging more than 100 possessions per game, a breakneck pace that marks them as the fastest team in the league. Unfortunately, the Houston defense has suffered in the helter-skelter style. Yao Ming's return was supposed to help the Rockets recover some of their past point-prevention prowess, but he's pretty immobile right now as he works his way back into playing shape. Houston is last in the league with an unsightly 117.1 Defensive Rating. Teams that play this fast often feed off of turnovers, and that's been the most deficient area of Houston's defense thus far. The Rockets are next to last in the league in forcing miscues.

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Thanks to a vacation, I haven't actually seen the Rockets play this year yet, but this definitely ties in with my biggest Rockets-related worry this season: that there is a Rockets team with Yao and a Rockets team without Yao. If you can't count on Yao to stay healthy, then theres not much point in keeping the players that fit his game in the lineup, because they can't do the up-and-down game that the Rockets are playing on the side well enough for the Rockets to succeed right now. 

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.