The Houston Rockets may be finding that out the hard way.
At 30-26, the Rockets looked pretty good with the trade deadline approaching — until a Wednesday night, six-player deal dismantled a good chunk of the squad that got Houston to the No. 8 seed. The players were predictably caught off guard, with the three players the Rockets gave up — Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas — leaving the team just as Houston was about to tip off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jeremy Lin, who spent a good part of this season getting used to the chemistry of his new team after making his start with the Knicks last year, was among those jolted by the news.
“That was pretty much the worst thing,” Lin said after the game, according to CSN Houston. “It sucks because we’re a close-knit team, and we actually really, really care about everybody that got shipped off, and it was just really emotional for me. To be honest, I was like, ‘I don’t even want to play. I don’t even want to play tonight.’ It was really emotional.
“I wish them the best. It just sucks to see them go, and I guess that’s part of the business, but that’s a tough part for me.”
Lin wasn’t the only one out of sorts. Teammate Chandler Parsons said it was “hard to focus” with “four friends leaving,” although the Rockets did rise to the occasion. They beat the Thunder 122-119, with Lin putting up 29 points and eight assists.
The Rockets’ next test comes Friday night against Brooklyn, an Eastern Conference contender. Houston is within two games of the Western Conference’s current No. 6 and No. 7 seeds, Golden State and Utah, but the Lakers (26-29) are still lurking behind them for the West’s final playoff spot.
The Rockets may be able to band together for a while, but if recent trade deadline history teaches anything, it’s that chemistry that was once taken for granted can quickly become unraveled.
Photo via Facebook/Butch Alsandor KHOU