The Houston Rockets have had a fascinating season, losing 15 games in a row to start the season before winning seven straight in one of the most surprising winning streak of the season. Since then, the Rockets have gone back to looking like one of the NBA’s worst teams, going 1-9 in their last 10 games to fall to their current record of 10-27, which is the worst record in the West and third-worst record in the NBA.
The record isn’t a surprise, as this was very clearly Year 1 of a rebuild in Houston, and the focus was more on the development of young players than winning games. The good news is they’ve seen some positives from No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green since his return from a hamstring strain and fellow first-round pick Alperen Sengun has been a consistent bright spot, showing flashes of considerable talent. The bad news is things seemed to hit a low point on Saturday night in a loss to the Nuggets when two of their highest profile players refused to play the second half after getting called out for effort by the coaching staff.
Christian Wood was reportedly the main target of coach Stephen Silas’ frustrations with effort in a scathing halftime message to the team, calling out Wood (who was benched to start the game for missing a COVID test), who then refused to sub in during the second half. Kevin Porter Jr., meanwhile, left the arena at halftime after getting into it with an assistant coach, allegedly throwing something during the argument before driving home from the arena, which the Rockets covered in the moment as him getting treatment on his thigh.
On Monday, Houston will take on the Sixers and they will be without both Wood and Porter Jr., who were suspended for their “poor behavior,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon.
Reporting with @ESPN_MacMahon: The Houston Rockets are suspending Kevin Porter Jr., and Christian Wood for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, disciplining both for poor behavior surrounding Saturday’s loss to Denver.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 3, 2022
The Rockets will hope to put this all behind them after the one-game suspension, and it’s clear that Silas is trying to send a message to the entire team with the suspensions as they try to build something of a culture in Houston with a young roster.