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D’Antoni: Rockets (1-5) lost championship swagger

Houston appeared to be cleared for takeoff after winning the top seed in the Western Conference in 2017-18, but the Rockets are pulling a first to worst to start for the 2018-19 season.

“It’s hard to explain sometimes. We lost our swagger,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’re on our heels. When you’re desperate, it’s good on defense because your hair should be on fire, but it’s bad on offense. Tonight, it was like we were pretty good defensively for most of the game, but offensively, we weren’t calm and didn’t have that poise and just didn’t hit anything for a while.”

The Rockets have lost four home games by 17 points. A 19-point defeat at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers — the Rockets had only 36 points at halftime — on Tuesday dropped Houston into a tie with the Phoenix Suns for the worst record in the Western Conference. MVP James Harden is likely to remain sidelined into the weekend after already missing four games with a hamstring injury.

“Last year, we played well. Right now, we’re playing like crap,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll look. We’ll fight it. Not making shots, not making foul shots, not making layups.

“”I’ll ask the analytical guys, but I think we’re still in it mathematically,” D’Antoni said.

Point guard Chris Paul has been active for the past two games and led Houston with 17 points on Tuesday, but he’s looking for answers, not excuses, with Harden sidelined.

“Ain’t nobody going to feel sorry for us, know what I mean?” Paul said. “We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to get better.”

–Field Level Media

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