Rockets need to figure out how to play defensively, Carmelo Anthony says

The Rockets haven’t had a strong start to their season and are 1-4 after five games. But they’re ready to make some dramatic changes — starting with their defense. 

After a 133-113 loss to the Clippers on Friday, star forward Carmelo Anthony said the Rockets need to create their own identity and figure out how their defense can be better.

“We’ve just got to figure out how exactly we want to play defensively,” Anthony said, per ESPN. “This team this year is completely, totally different from the team they had last year.

“I think we have to focus on the team that we have now and kind of put that behind us of what was going on last year. A lot of guys weren’t here last year, so now it’s time for us to create our own identity for what this team is and what we’re going to be moving forward.”

Guard Chris Paul also expressed frustration about the team’s disappointing start, telling reporters: “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and figure out what’s going to be the best solution for this team.” 

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni echoed a similar sentiment to both Anthony and Paul. He said the team needs to make major adjustments and pointed to the Rockets’ defense as an area of concern.

“We were switching, and obviously this team is different than last year, and they were busting us,” D’Antoni told reporters in his postgame news conference . “We weren’t tied together. We’ll have two days of practice, so we’ll put some other things in and try to figure it out a little bit better. Our defense was just awful.

“We don’t have any continuity. We’re not figuring it out, and then the dam breaks and everybody struggles. But we’ve got two good days of practice. We’ll figure things out. We just dug ourselves a hole, and we’ve got to dig it out.”

The Rockets struggled defensively, allowing the Clippers to shoot 54.4 percent from the floor and 52.2 percent from 3-point range and attempt 38 free throws. D’Antoni says, though, they didn’t have that problem last year and addressed the fact that this is a different team compared to last season.

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“We’ve got to adjust for that, and we figured out some things that maybe we just can’t do,” D’Antoni said. “That’s definitely a big issue, where they’re just blowing by us. We can’t guard on the perimeter, it looks like. Just hang in there with us. We’ll be all right. As a team, if they stick together and play hard, we’ll figure out how we need to play.”

The Rockets have a few days off before hosting the Trail Blazers on Tuesday with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.

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