The Houston Rockets went into the 2012 All-Star break riding a three-game winning streak and looked like they were going to come out of the gates in the second half of the season sprinting to the playoffs. However, the team has done the exact opposite as they have struggled badly since the break, winning only one game of six. After losing to the Toronto Raptors on the road on Wednesday night, they have now lost five in a row.
First-time head coach Kevin McHale is struggling to try to fix whatever is wrong with his team.
"We have not been good since the All-Star break," McHale said following Wednesday night's loss. "We've really got to get ourselves together. We're going through a really rough stretch right now. We've lost a couple tough games, came in here tonight and just got it handed to us.
"We've got to figure out what kind of team we're going to be. We've got to go out there and just keep on battling hard. We've just got to find a way to have more defensive effort and more defensive energy."
Fifth-year Rockets power forward Luis Scola was asked if the team's lack of energy is the problem. He said that while energy has been a concern, it's not the only factor that caused the Rockets to tumble after the All-Star break.
"I don't think that it is just energy," said forward Luis Scola."Some games it is definitely energy, but some other games the energy was there like the Clippers or Boston and we still lost those. I think energy is one of the problems, I don't think it is the only problem. If you don't have it every game it is a big problem.
"The games that we have energy we are closer but we still have problems, so it is not the only one."
After last night's loss, the Rockets are just two games over .500 (21-19) and they've fallen out of the top eight in the Western Conference because the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the same record, hold the tie breaker. If the Rockets continue their downward spiral, their playoff hopes will be dashed quickly as teams like Utah and Portland will pass them up. However, they still have plenty of time to pick themselves up and make a run at the playoffs.
For more on the Houston Rockets, head to The Dream Shake.