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Sputtering Rockets hold players-only meeting


HOUSTON — As the Houston Rockets try to halt a four-game losing streak, the longest since 2013, the team held a players-only meeting on Tuesday morning at the Toyota Center.

While certain details of the meeting weren’t revealed, communication and getting everything off people’s chest were some of the talking points.

“What happens in the room, stays in the room,” center Dwight Howard said following practice. “It was good for us to sit down and talk but it’s a long season and you can’t get caught up in losing a couple of games and getting upset and so frustrated and feel like it’s the end of the world. It is embarrassing. We hate to lose but at the same time we have a long season and we can’t think negative when we lose. We have to try and find the positive in any situation. You keep thinking negative, then negative things will continue to happen to you. You got to stay positive and fight through it. All this stuff will build our character.”

After the Rockets opened the season 0-3, they went on a four-game winning streak, which included consecutive road wins over the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers.

But the Rockets have lost their last four games and failed to reach 100 points in each. Houston is averaging 20 fewer points in their losses. The Rockets lost to a then-winless Brooklyn Nets team, suffered their second loss to Denver, a home loss to a short-handed Dallas team and a 110-95 defeat to Boston on Monday. The Celtics were playing their fifth game in seven days when they beat the Rockets.

That loss prompted point guard Ty Lawson to remark that he team needed a meeting and collectively the rest of the team gathered.

“We brought everything up in the meeting, everything turned out well,” Lawson said. “We got open feelings and communication. I feel like we’re on the same page now.”

Whether or not the meeting will result in ending the losing streak is uncertain. The Rockets need their best player, James Harden, to pick up the scoring load. Harden has seen his scoring average drop from 38.5 points per game in victories to 20.9 in losses. In wins he shoots 46.4 percent from the field but that dips to 30.2 percent in losses.

“It was a good talk for us,” Harden said. “We hadn’t had an opportunity to communicate like that since the season had been going. It was good for us to communicate and each guy basically said what their role was and every single night they’re going to contribute to that role. After the talk we had a really good practice, guys communicated we worked hard and now it’s about carrying it over. It’s about doing it on the floor.”

Houston hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.



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