So it’s official — the Houston Rockets are playoff-bound!
I honestly wasn’t 100 percent sure if I’d be saying these words this late in April because of the team being wildly inconsistent for most of the way but it’s such a relief to hear that the Rockets will take part in the postseason.
They’ll be placed along with 15 other teams that will have the opportunity to extend their play — some longer than others.
I have to admit, I was so concerned about the Rockets’ performance against the Phoenix Suns last Thursday, I had written a scathing review of this team, continuing to reiterate that they didn’t deserve to go to the playoffs based off their level of performance.
I’m still seeing some of things that has plagued this team for the entire season — part-time defense, streaky shooting, lack of an identity — but the Rockets now have the opportunity to right all of those ugly character traits by making something out of the match up of their next opponent.
Yes, the Rockets will face up against the Golden State Warriors to which they were the team that they faced in the Western Conference Finals last year.
This series will pretty much play out like sequel to a movie with a bittersweet ending — most of the characters are back but the dynamics have changed.
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The Warriors are trying to do something special, not only have the best overall season record at 73-9 but do whatever it takes to get a back-to-back championship along with that.
Because with all honesty, they have no choice — they worked hard to net the 73 wins but if there’s no championship accompanied, then this season is a failure for them.
Just think about it — having the best regular season record is definitely great discussion over a cup of coffee but winning the ship along with that record is what hoops heads alike will be talking about FOREVER.
But wouldn’t it be nice if the Rockets had the gumption to put a damper in the Warriors’ plans?
Regardless of what happens moving forward with the Rockets, they would theoretically forever have that memory to hang their hat on.
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What if they could pull off the unthinkable, the optimistic upset?
It can be done but will it happen?
But that doesn’t mean the Rox can’t make something of this series; because, if they do, this 41-41 grossly mediocre season will have some validation.
Otherwise, it will be as forgettable as Dr. Ben Carson’s presidential bid.
Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh but there’s not much that I can highlight out of this season other the acquisition of Michael Beasley and the repetitive motion of me slapping my forehead every time my Rockets — ahem…James Harden — committed a bone-head turnover.
This team has the tools in order for it be successful but it’s a matter of it all their talents fusing together to meet one common goal — TO WIN BASKETBALL GAMES.
There’s no tomorrow and I have a feeling this team is going to do what it takes now that the heat has been turned up and the stakes are as high as ever.
They are, of course, the underdogs in this series and although most of the pressure is on the Warriors, there should be just an equal amount of pressure on the Rockets to save face from such a disappointing season.
We literally have nothing to lose — and the Warriors should be concerned that taking us lightly could be extremely dangerous and detrimental to their success.
Come this Saturday afternoon, the Rockets need to dig deep inside and give themselves the ultimate gut-check.
Now’s a better time than ever and it’s time for them to leave it all out on the floor — BLOOD, SWEAT, STRAIN and TEARS.
Let’s do this — go Rockets!