Rockets take aim at league's worst team -- Nets (Jan 15, 2017)

BY AP • January 14, 2017

NEW YORK -- The Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets are among the leaders in attempted 3-pointers.

The differences between the teams is how many actually go in and for the Rockets they will attempt to rebound from a dreadful perimeter showing Sunday night when they visit the Nets.

Houston leads the league in 3-point attempts at 39.9 per game and 1,675 overall. It is a significant increase from the 26.9 attempted last season and more on par with 2014-15 when the Rockets took 32.2 per game and won 56 games.

Houston also makes 37.2 percent of its threes, which places it in the top 10. James Harden makes 34.8 percent of his 3-pointers while free agent acquisitions Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon are at over .500.

The Rockets will be looking to get those figures back to normal after shooting 3 of 24 from long range in the second half of Friday's 110-105 home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Rockets shot 24.4 percent (10 of 41) from long range, their third-lowest percentage of the season and wound up blowing a 16-point lead.

It was the fifth time the Rockets shot under 30 percent from 3-point range and it also marked the first time Houston dropped consecutive games this season.

From Dec. 26 to Jan. 10, the Rockets shot 36.6 percent from 3-point range during a nine-game winning streak. In its first losing streak of the season, Houston is at 30.1 percent from 3-point range.

"I didn't think we were going to go all year without any kind of problems or any kind of tough spots," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "This is a tough spot."

The primary culprits were Trevor Ariza and Anderson, who were a combined 2 of 14. Harden was 2 of 7 and Gordon was 3 of 9 after missing two games with a toe injury.

"We didn't make shots," Harden said. "Trevor had a really good look, Ryan had a really good look. Simple."

A multitude of problems make the Nets the league's worst team at 8-31 and 4-26 since Nov. 12. They have taken the fourth-most 3-point attempts this season and their 32.9 tries per game are third.

Those are negated by a 3-point percentage of 33.7 percent, which is the third-worst in the league. The Nets are shooting 35.2 percent in their season-high nine-game losing streak but are allowing 112.6 points per game, opponents to shoot 46.2 percent and have posted a defensive rating of 107.4.

None of those games have been played with Jeremy Lin, who reinjured his left hamstring in the third quarter Dec. 26 against Charlotte. Lin has only played 12 games and the Nets 5-22 in the games he has sat.

Lin is not expected to play Sunday despite a promotion of his own bobblehead doll being handed out to fans.

Of course, the Nets have many other issues besides an injured player not playing on a giveaway night. Besides getting their promotional items fans might be watching the Nets lose 10 straight for the second time in nine months after the team ended last season with 10 consecutive defeats.

Many of those were poor traits were on display in the fourth quarter of a 132-113 loss at Toronto Friday. The Nets were down 90-89 through three but gave up 42 points in the final 12 minutes and wound up with their 19th double-digit loss of the season.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points and Brook Lopez added 20 despite shooting 6 of 17. In the decisive fourth quarter, Bogdanovic and Lopez were a combined 2 of 8 and a minus-32 as the Nets allowed the Raptors to hit 7 of 13 3-pointer and shoot 61 percent.

"I came out and I definitely hurt us," Lopez said. "I absolutely have to make better plays coming out in the fourth." Lopez said. "Absolutely we didn't respond. I didn't respond the right way. You've just got to get back, continue playing defense."

Often the implosion occurs in the third quarter but in the last two games, the fourth is the problem. The last two fourth quarter collapses have resulted in Brooklyn being outscored 73-38 while giving up runs of 13-0 and 21-2.

"We get in a black hole in the beginning of the fourth quarter," Bogdanovic said. "We have to extend those good minutes we played for three quarters. "Almost every game we have those three or four minutes that we permit the other team to make a run on us.

Houston is 17-3 in the last 20 meetings with the Nets. Harden scored 36 points and the Rockets shot 39.5 percent from long range in a 122-118 home win on Dec. 12.



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