When Stephen Silas was hired by the Houston Rockets in October of 2020, he thought he would be walking into a ready-made situation to win. With one of the best players in the league, another former MVP on the roster and a reliable supporting cast, the long-time assistant looked to be well set-up in his first head coaching gig.
Less than five months later, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Rockets are in free fall.
Houston fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon, 124-122, bringing the team’s losing streak to 20 straight games. According to StatMuse, it’s the sixth longest losing streak in a single season of all-time.
Sunday’s defeat was a backbreaker as the Rockets stayed within shouting distance throughout the contest. Down two points on the final possession, John Wall drove to the basket but had his shot blocked by Luguentz Dort to lock up the game for the Thunder.
After the game, Silas was understandably emotional. With the physical and mental toll that this season has taken in a variety of ways, the NBA world empathized with the first-year head coach who was thrust into a situation far beyond his control.
Man, I feel for this man. A young coach gets his first gig & a lot of stuff goes down that’s out of his control.
You could see early on in the season there was some good moments. Now he’s gotta deal w/ the wreckage.
I hope the Rockets get that.
— Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) March 21, 2021
The Houston Rockets just lost their 20th consecutive game — three losses longer than the previous franchise record losing streak in the club's San Diego days — but they will be a focus all week as Thursday's NBA 3 PM ET trade deadline approaches.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 21, 2021
The Rockets have lost 20 games in a row, the 6th longest losing streak in a season of all-time. pic.twitter.com/s4Mru7cEP1
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 21, 2021
Damn… the Rockets are going through it. 20 straight losses. pic.twitter.com/1zcqGWlWAw
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) March 21, 2021
We should all feel bad for Stephen Silas.
He came into the season thinking he would coach Harden/Russ/Gordon/Tucker/Covington. Has battled lineup changes every game, a 20 game losing streak. And was just heartbroken and let down tonight. No Silas slander this season. Please.
— Rob / sad Houston sports fan (@Houst0n4L) March 21, 2021
Miami on a three game losing streak
The Houston Rockets: pic.twitter.com/1VN3f0k5kt
— editsmiami (22-21) (@editsmiami) March 21, 2021
When Silas came aboard, James Harden was still the centerpiece in Houston and the Rockets were operating on the understanding that he would be back for another year. However, he forced his way to Brooklyn just a few games in, leaving a new head coach to pick-up the pieces.
The Rockets have also been plagued by injuries, including the major loss of big-man Christian Wood. The 25-year-old was in the middle of a breakout season before he rolled his ankle. Houston began the massive skid when Wood went down and haven’t recovered in the two games since he’s been back.
The Rockets have used 27 different starting line-ups in 41 games. Sunday was just the second time this season that Wall, Victor Oladipo, Danuel House, Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate were on the floor for the opening tip.
With the trade deadline fast approaching on March 25, the Rockets could be a major seller. Although Houston isn’t last in the Western Conference, the playoffs are more of an afterthought at this point.
It’s likely in the team’s best interest to make some moves and put themselves in a better position for the start of next year.