Stephen Silas shares what Rockets’ winning streak has meant to him


The first NBA season with Stephen Silas as head coach of the Rockets was marred by longtime superstar James Harden forcing his way out of town and then a historic wave of injuries, which led to Houston finishing with the NBA’s worst record in a pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season.

In 2021-22, season two for Silas in Houston began with a 1-16 start and 15 consecutive losses. Then, on Nov. 24, a report emerged that his future as head coach of the Rockets could be in question.

Starting with that day, though, the stars finally began aligning for the first time with the Silas-era Rockets. With the Nov. 24 win over Chicago as a launching point, Houston went on to win its next seven games, which has made for a historic in-season turnaround.

As a result, the coach who was initially known on Rockets Twitter for his smile is suddenly smiling a lot more often. Prior to Friday’s home game versus defending NBA champion Milwaukee, Silas was asked how he’s feeling personally these days, and he peeled back the curtain:

It means a lot. It means a lot that the message is getting through. We knew that we were going to have to grow and improve this year, and we’re doing that. We’re growing and improving. It’s producing some wins, which is good as a coach.

It’s exciting. It’s exciting to walk around town and people will be like, ‘Good job, Coach!’ There were some times where I had just decided to stay home, so I wouldn’t have to deal with that. So yeah, it’s a good feeling.

The run began with a lineup change implemented by Silas, who shifted to a smaller lineup with Christian Wood at center flanked by four shooters and playmakers around him. That has sparked the Rockets’ offense in a big way, and Silas was able to make the philosophical change while still keeping veteran big man Daniel Theis — who was booted from the starting lineup — bought in and contributing from the bench.

Through Nov. 23, Houston ranked No. 30 overall — dead last in the league — on offense with a 97.3 rating. Since implementing the change, the Rockets have soared to an offensive rating of 118.6, good for No. 3 in the NBA over that span. Defensively, they’ve held stable, even without Theis. They are No. 16 after the changes with a 111.4 defensive rating, as compared to a 108.2 rating (No. 19 overall) in the earlier 17 games.

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To no surprise, there have not been any reports since Nov. 24 indicating that Silas’ job could be in jeopardy. While its the players who have earned the most attention, Houston’s head coach has answered the bell, too.

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