HOUSTON — For the Rockets, the perfect factor about their fourth consecutive loss was that it was lopsided sufficient for coach Mike D’Antoni to determine to pull his overworked starters with greater than seven minutes remaining.

The injury-riddled Rockets’ lack of depth was uncovered in Wednesday’s 128-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, who had a 65-25 edge in bench scoring.

“Clearly, it’s a downside,” D’Antoni stated. “It’s one thing that I do know that the entrance workplace tried to tackle. They are going to do the perfect they’ll. No blame going round; it’s simply the best way it’s.”

The Rockets performed with out star guard Chris Paul (hamstring) and key reserve wing Gerald Inexperienced (ankle). D’Antoni indicated that he expects each gamers to return for Friday’s street sport in opposition to the San Antonio Spurs and that backup middle Nene Hilario is shut to being prepared for his season debut after being sidelined by a calf pressure.

James Harden, proper, has averaged 42.three minutes per sport throughout Houston’s four-game shedding streak, with Chris Paul, middle, lacking the previous three video games. Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports activities

“Then our depth is fairly good,” D’Antoni stated. “We have everyone a couple of rungs up. We have rookies taking part in because the sixth or seventh man. They need to be ninth, 10th males. They might be OK each as soon as in a whereas, however once you rely on them, it’s robust. And it’s not their fault. They are going to develop. Once more, we’re simply going to have to knock on wooden and ensure they keep wholesome.”

The one Rockets reserves to play non-garbage time minutes in opposition to the Mavs have been current G League call-up Danuel Home Jr. and undrafted rookies Gary Clark and Isaiah Hartenstein. The Rockets entered the season counting on minimum-salary additions Carmelo Anthony and Michael Carter-Williams to play key reserve roles, however the staff opted to half methods with Anthony after he struggled, and Carter-Williams has fallen out of the rotation.

4 gamers on the Rockets, who’re second to final within the Western Convention standings with a 9-11 document, have averaged greater than 36 minutes throughout the shedding streak, which has included two extra time video games. D’Antoni believes that fatigue has performed a important position within the Rockets’ current struggles and is worried concerning the long-term impact if he cannot lighten the masses of James Harden, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon, specifically.

The Mavs’ bench considerably outplayed the Rockets’ starters early within the fourth quarter on Tuesday, killing any hopes of a Houston comeback after Harden (25 factors, 11 rebounds, 17 assists and 6 steals) led a rally to reduce the deficit to seven factors on the finish of the third. Mavs reserve guards J.J. Barea (13 factors, 12 assists in 18 minutes) and Devin Harris (20 factors, 4 assists in 15 minutes) dominated throughout a 20-6 run that led D’Antoni to pull his starters.

“I do fear concerning the minutes,” D’Antoni stated. “I pulled them early tonight as a result of it’s type of silly to play them [late in a blowout]. Periodically, we would have to take a sport off simply to see what occurs. Make it possible for — as a lot as we will; there isn’t any science that claims it’s going to be foolproof, however as a lot as we will — we have to protect our guys. Win the video games we will, get within the playoffs after which have a full slate of folks and go at it.”

Harden has averaged 42.three minutes per sport throughout the four-game shedding streak, with Paul lacking the previous three contests. Harden acknowledged that the heavy workload for the Rockets’ wholesome regulars has been a downside, however he expressed confidence that Houston would get again on monitor soon.

“We have finished it already,” Harden stated. “We went by means of a robust stretch, after which we regrouped and won 5 in a row — and we regarded actually good. We have simply obtained to determine it out. We have a lot of new guys, and it’s solely 20 video games into the season. We have 60 extra to go.”

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