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Rockets coach Stephen Silas won’t even say the word tanking

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Between the pain of the losses that could have been otherwise or the elation when the Rockets broke through on Wednesday to beat the Mavericks, it had not occurred to Rockets coach Stephen Silas that anyone would suggest his team could benefit from a loss.

Rockets general manager Rafael Stone had said in a radio interview on Wednesday that Rockets’ stockpile of concept picks makes it unnecessary to bother with their position in the lottery this summer, reiterating a point he had made after the trading deadline.

The idea could be a contention as the brutal remaining schedule could keep the Rockets in the bottom three on their way to the lottery, where they would have a 52.1 percent chance of sticking to the top four, which it takes to avoid their choice to Thunder. After Wednesday’s win broke a five-game loss streak, they have the second-worst record in the league.

Silas, however, believed that everything his team had gone through since before training camp and through the endless series of injuries and roster changes that had forced him to use 34 starting lineups in 51 games, and was stunned at the idea of ​​trying to win by losing. could even be entertained.

“Oh yeah, I mean, stay up late to watch a movie and let these guys come in for shootaround, grind, fight and the disappointment you feel after losing, and the elation you feel after wins, that’s nothing at all.” It’s not, “said Silas, without even spitting out the word tanking.” The growth of this team is doing what we can to play well, controlling what we can control.

“I would say if you really keep a close eye on this team you would understand that we are where we are mainly because of a lot of other things besides basketball, be it injuries or COVID or trades or whatever. It’s not … guys don’t go out and give all or my tech staff and I don’t give everything. We try to win every game. I think you see this with the disappointment our boys have, with the fight they have, my reaction to games. I don’t even know if that should be squashed or not. It’s a non-issue. “

That would have been evident with the Rockets’ response when they fell short against the Suns on Monday and broke through against the Mavericks on Wednesday. But they said it was about more than the instant gratification that comes with a victory or avoiding the disappointment of a loss.

There’s some of that with athletes who moved in to compete long ago. But if the idea of ​​pursuing a better draft choice is about building a better team, then so is the efforts in the remaining weeks on combining, lottery and drawing.

“It’s important,” said Rockets security guard DJ Augustin. “This competition is all about winning. For us to get that victory (Wednesday) night and to keep trying to win the rest of the season is a big deal for us and a big opportunity for the young boys. If we get rid of all the losses, build on them and keep winning and bring in some wins for the rest of the season, it would be a big confidence boost in the summer and next season. “

To use the term Missile Center, Kelly Olynyk learned well in Miami and referred to repeatedly on Wednesdays as a way to build ‘culture’.

“That’s kind of a word that gets thrown out,” said Olynyk. “It is clear that they have been in Miami for four years, that is something they insist on, really looking forward to. Only the atmosphere and chemistry and togetherness and the team spirit of an organization is what that brings.

‘I think we have a lot of talented guys here. If we can put it all together and we all pull rope in the same direction, then you can move mountains and heavy objects. I think it’s all about getting everything together and making sure we do the right things for each other, and I think you’ll see some positive things out there. “

In addition to showing that Olynyk is fluent in Pat Riley, he described the reasons for determination to win even with the usual goals that are normally out of reach.

“For us, every game is all about building habits and playing hard for each other, just learning, learning to win,” said guard Avery Bradley. “It will take time, but the effort, the attention to detail was really great. I feel like we actually implemented the coach’s game plan.

“We get along very well. Right now it’s all about making an effort and playing hard for each other and playing hard for the coach. It’s been a tough year, but right now it’s all about improving every game. “

Winning is also more fun.

“It feels good,” said Silas after leading his former team. “It’s a good win because they are a good team. They were rolling. Beating such a quality team feels good, it definitely feels good. We don’t have as many wins as I’d like, so I think it feels better than losing. “

That’s reason enough for the Rockets.

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