Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 3/15/12
HOUSTON Back in early January, when the Rockets played eight games without reserve guard Courtney Lee and the starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin logged heavy minutes, they performed with the sort of resiliency that validates conversations on embracing adversity. The Rockets have frequently managed well while shorthanded, which made their 107-87 pummeling of the Bobcats on Wednesday night at Toyota Center as predictable a result as any in this compressed season. That the Bobcats (6-35) are the dregs of the NBA certainly played a role in the Rockets' runaway victory. But the Rockets (24-20) were equally effective and persistent the previous evening in Oklahoma City against the Western Conference-leading Thunder, making clear their habit of performing with duty and purpose when attrition ravages the rotation. "We just keep on talking about adversity and things happen and next guy has got to step up," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "Some make excuses just go play. "A lot of times a guy like Goran (Dragic) all of a sudden is able to play more minutes and relaxes a little bit. Chase (Budinger) is getting lots of minutes. Guys starting feeling a little more comfortable. "You've just got to go play. Opportunity in our league is an amazing thing because sometimes it doesn't come for a long time until someone gets hurt. When it happens for you, you've got to make the most of it." For a second consecutive game the Rockets played without Lowry (bacterial infection) and Martin (strained right shoulder) yet they didn't skip a beat. When Lee missed eight consecutive games with a calf strain the Rockets finished that stretch 4-4, including three successive wins before Lee returned and helped cap a season-best seven-game streak. The Rockets improved to 4-0 without Martin and have won three of four since Lowry was sidelined. Some credit falls to Dragic, whose inconsistency as a reserve sharply contrasts his steady play as a starter. Since joining the starting lineup Dragic has averaged 17.3 points (on 53.2 percent shooting) and 8.3 assists per game. When Lowry missed back-to-back games against the Thunder Jan. 6-7, Dragic averaged 15 points (on 55 percent shooting) and 9.5 assists. His elevated performances go beyond comfort level. "I'm feeling comfortable on the court," said Dragic, who posted 14 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes against Charlotte. "I know what I have to do, what coach expects from me. Just try to be solid on defense and just trying to lead my teammates, to involve a lot of players, especially in the pick-and-roll. Luis Scola, Sammy (Dalembert), and all of our shooters." McHale touched on the Rockets' willingness to share the basketball when the rotation is tight. Bizarrely the Rockets have averaged 26.3 assists per game without Lowry, who leads the team in assists at 7.2 per game. When they levied the knockout blow against the Bobcats on Wednesday night, the Rockets did so in the third quarter by assisting on 11 of 15 field goals while turning a 10-point lead into an 86-57 cushion. Rookie forward Chandler Parsons is an able facilitator, but his seven assists were more than three times his season average. Scola and Jonny Flynn, now the backup to Dragic, chipped in three assists apiece. In missing their two leading scorers the Rockets cleave to unselfish play. "It's just us executing offense," Parsons said. "Moving the ball, making the extra pass. If you're open and someone else is more open, give them the ball. It sounds simple but just keep playing unselfish, keep moving the ball and running our plays. We've got a whole bunch of plays so we can't just run one or two of them. We've got to expand our offense and keep playing the way we're playing." If the Rockets could bottle what they showcased against the Thunder and Bobcats they'd have something laudable. Those moments where their defense has been lacking and their effort has waned came when there was a full complement of players. In the long run the Rockets will be at their best when health is optimal, but their will must remain strong. When they have been at their weakest is when the Rockets have displayed their strength. That is a reservoir of perseverance they need to tap into often, regardless of who is available and who is inactive. "Playing like that in practice (is a necessity)," Lee said. "Just looking at the Western Conference standings and seeing where we're at as motivation. It's a goal and we all want to make it to the playoffs. That's what we're pushing for." Follow me on Twitter at moisekapenda
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Anthony Davis really the best big man from UK in the NBA?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: JJ Watt re-injures back, facing extended absence

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WATCH: Wayne Gretzky tells the hilarious story of his secret Hall of Fame visit

Wilson Ramos done for year with torn ACL

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sam Allardyce, English FA announce contract termination just 67 days into the job

Report: Clint Dempsey to miss rest of 2016 MLS season

Report: Rose not revealing true concern over rape investigation

UFC 205 headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez

Greg Hardy told police someone slipped cocaine in his wallet

Report: LSU will ‘gauge the interest’ of Saban, Meyer, others

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Green Beret shares how he helped alter Kaepernick protest

Gordon: Hitting HR for Fernandez ‘best moment of my life’

Box Score: 9/27 - Goodbyes, farewells and hurdles

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker