Rockets Balance Prepping for NBA Champion Bucks With Grueling Schedule!– OnMyWay Mobile App User News


With Friday’s home game against the Bucks, the Rockets begin a stretch of five games in seven days. The stretch is bookended by two sets of back-to-back games, the first set against Milwaukee and in Memphis, the second in Cleveland and versus the New York Knicks, with a game in Atlanta in between.

The athletes’ tired mantra, “One game at a time,” may not apply when the athletes are, well, tired.

As such, Thursday’s practice at Toyota Center was perhaps lighter on court time than Rockets coach Stephen Silas would like before a matchup with the defending champs.

“A day like today where we actually have a practice day, it has to be more of a recovery day,” Silas said. “Guys played a bunch of minutes last night leading into a back-to-back. So I take a lot of time to think about what we’re going to be doing, and I have so many ideas and so many things that I want to get in and so many things that I want to go over. But it has to be mostly the film. It has to be a little bit on the court and then the biggest part is their recovery, so they have their best for the game.”

Foul trouble limited forward Jae’Sean Tate to 27 minutes against the Nets, but he played the fewest minutes of any Rockets starter. Guard Garrison Mathews played a game-high 39 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, while center/forward Christian Wood played 33 minutes.

Guard Armoni Brooks played 29 minutes through three quarters. Guard Eric Gordon’s playing time, 28 minutes, was cut short when he was ejected with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Off the bench, D.J. Augustin, Josh Christopher and K.J. Martin each played 20-plus minutes.

Silas has emphasized to his young players, many of whom have not been through such a rigorous NBA schedule, the importance of recovery and working with Houston’s strength and conditioning staff.

“It’s an experience thing,” Silas said. “You have to kind of go through it to understand it.”

His sentiment was echoed by Augustin, a 14-year NBA veteran.

“Days like this, just coming in and not doing too much, focusing on what we need to do to win the game tomorrow and getting up out of here and taking care of our bodies, that’s the main thing,” Augustin said. “I had a lot of good veterans around me to show me and teach me a way to take care of my body and get ready for a back-to-back coming up after playing so many games this past week.”

The Rockets will likely continue to be without guards Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. for the week ahead. Silas had no update on their conditions Thursday, or on forward Danuel House Jr., who missed the last game with a sprained ankle. Rookie forward Usman Garuba is still out with a bruised thigh and far away from a return.

Managing minutes and rotations among persistent injuries is complicated by the brutal upcoming schedule, especially because playing against bigger teams like the Grizzlies, Hawks and Cavaliers may force the Rockets to switch up their lineup.

Fortunately for Houston, one encouraging trend this season is little-used players stepping up in big ways. Mathews is the most prominent example as a guy who went from the G League to the Rockets starting five in the span of weeks. Brooks has provided a shooting lift and started against the Nets.

Forward David Nwaba was completely out of the rotation but logged five first-half minutes against the Nets. Christopher ate up the majority of House’s minutes while putting on a perfect shooting performance for 18 points in 23 minutes, both season highs.

“Every night it’s a different guy stepping up,” Augustin said. “That’s what this league is about: opportunity, being ready when your name is called. And we have a lot of guys who’ve done that this year.”



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