Stephen Silas dismisses youth and inexperience as an excuse in late game collapse to Wizards

HOUSTON – – As soon as Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas walked into the press conference room for his postgame press conference, you could see that he was not happy.

Gone was the smile that he usually displays no matter what the circumstances. His tone and demeanor were not the same as it was 48 hours ago when he had spoken to reporters after the Rockets had broken their 13-game losing streak by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He was infuriated and had every right to be after watching his team blow a 19-point lead to the visiting Washington Wizards on their way to a 108-103 loss.

Leading 81-71 to start the fourth quarter, Houston allowed Washington to go on a 12-2 run to tie the game at 83. Kyle Kuzma hit 20 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Wizards outscored the Rockets 37-22 on their way to their fourth straight victory.

Rockets center Alperen Sengun kept Houston within striking distance of the Wizards by recording his second triple-double of his career with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and ten assists. He became only the second 20-year-old to record those numbers since Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson.

It is easy to point to the Rockets’ youth and inexperience for the late-game collapses. Three of their main starters (Jalen Green, 20, Alperen Sengun, 20, and Jabari Smith Jr., 19) are under 21. Yet, coach Silas no longer wants that to be used as an excuse for his team’s lack of execution.

“Late third quarter, we got away from the things that are about winning, about winning building habits, about taking the right shot, about making the right pass, and we’ve got to be better,” said Silas looking as if he had just relayed that same message to his team, but with a sterner tone. “We’ve got to be better than that. Whatever, young and inexperienced and all that, we’ve got to be better.”

Houston has played very well in the first half of most of their 48 games this season, and on Wednesday, they took a 58-43 lead into the half. Yet, just as they have in their 37 losses this season, they collapsed in the second half. They went away from the ball movement and execution that helped them build their leads.

“We were in the locker room talking about having the same mindset,” Jalen Green said to reporters after the game. “Don’t let off because that is what we have been doing this whole time. We obviously get the lead in the first half, so just sticking to what’s working in that first half and continuing through and through, not try to let the ball stick so much, keep moving the ball.”

The Rockets must correct their late-game mistakes quickly as the Cleveland Cavaliers come into town on Thursday night as Houston concludes their three-game homestand before heading out on the road to take on the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.


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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire

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