HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — The Rockets are in desperate need of help if they have any hope of reviving their fading playoff chances.
But that help in these final three regular season games isn’t likely to come from star guard Kevin Martin, who has missed the last 21 games due to strained right shoulder. The Rockets leading scorer and best scorer has dressed the last three games but has not played because of lack of conditioning.
It sounds fairly certain Martin is unlikely to see any action in the Rockets final three must-win games of the regular season. Rockets coach Kevin McHale said conditioning is still a concern but also said Martin’s lack of rhythm with his teammates on the defensive end could be counter productive.
“I thought we put Kyle (Lowry) out there a little before he was ready to be truthful,” said McHale, making reference to his starting point guard returning last week after missing a month of action due to a bacterial infection. “Kyle had a couple days and we threw him out there. It’s hard. You can have a rhythm offensively but it’s just the defensive rotation and defensive everything that is just hard for the team because there is a rhythm out there.
“I would say that that chance is getting slimmer and slimmer.”
That almost certainly means the Rockets (32-31) chances of making the playoffs are much slimmer, too. They have been in desperate need of Martin’s outside shooting ability during this six-game losing streak where opposing teams have taken away the paint and forced the Rockets to become an outside shooting team.
The Rockets could use Martin’s perimeter shooting in this final three games in which they must go 3-0 and need both Phoenix and Utah to go 1-2 in order to slip back into the No.8 seed spot.