The Rockets' season has been over for some time.
Tonight they finally played like they knew it.
Showing little energy in front of the home crowd, the Rockets were totally embarrassed by the Kings in what amounted to a 27-point rout, 101-74.
The loss drops the Rockets to a lowly 26-45 on the year, and solidifies their hold on the 6th spot in Lottery Race 2002.
The damage was great. The Rockets, as a team, shot 29.9% from the field. As a team. And to make matters worse, they handed out just 12 assists, compared to 16 turnovers. To put that in perspective, Chauncey Billups handed out 17 assists by himself tonight for the Timberwolves against the Mavericks.
Going to be a long final 11 games for the bunch.
Steve Francis was just 3-13 from the field, and scored just 7 points, all of which came in the first quarter. Kenny Thomas shot incredibly poorly, at just 5-17 from the floor (though he finished with 20 points, 15 boards and a pair of blocks) while Cuttino Mobley was just 6-19.
To make matters worse, Eddie Griffin returned but he missed 8 of his 12 shots while Moochie Norris came off the bench to add an 0-fer-5 shooting clip.
The Rockets could hit nothing.
Meanwhile the Kings rolled... Chris Webber played just 30 minutes, putting up 19, 9 and 6 assists while 4 other Kings players scored 13 or more. Even the Kings bench, when this thing was already the laugher, came in and outhustled the Rockets all over the floor. When rookie Gerald Wallace (7 points, 7 boards - 6 offensive) viciously slammed home an offensive board off a Kings miss late, it just added more salt to the wounds.
Where to go from here? Play the season out with dignity and pride. The Rockets were already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (actually took place earlier this week), so from here Rudy hopefully can focus on the development of Dan Langhi, Oscar Torres, Eddie Griffin, Terence Morris and Jason Collier.
Winning should not be the top priority in the final 11 games. Developing players and focusing on improvement should be.