Houston Sports: The three worst moments of 2018

Houston Sports sad Texans fan (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Sports sad Texans fan (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Sports | Rockets guard Chris Paul (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Moment #2: Chris Paul’s crushing hamstring injury during the West Finals

Houston Sports fans — it wasn’t supposed to happen that way.  The Houston Rockets had a historical season, winning 65 games, the most in franchise history.  Their offense was as efficient as an auto-assembly line and their bone-crunching defense had made tremendous strides of improvement.

For the first time in as long as I could remember, the Rockets were a Top 10 defense in terms of efficiency and you certainly thought that this team had what it took to beat the Golden State Warriors.

Daryl Morey’s not-so-secret obsession with beating the Warriors drives his strategy for building this team and it looked like the latest concoction was going to be what it took to knock them off, en route to a championship trophy.

The Rockets three-team, eight-player trade to land Chris Paul in the 2017 off season was an indication of how serious Morey wanted to go all-in on this group to win a chip.

Many had questions on whether he and James Harden could co-exist and those assertions were put to rest quickly when things actually did work out just fine.  He was Harden’s catalyst, being in his ear when he’d do wrong and being the vocal leader that this team desperately needed.  Paul appeared in just 58 games last season but he continued to make an impactful presence each time he was out on the court.

The postseason was an even bigger momentum shift as the Rockets sailed through the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz without breaking much of a sweat.  Then came the Warriors to which the Rockets had a hell of a tussle with and many considered last season’s Western Conference Finals as the true NBA Finals as the Association’s two best teams were going toe-to-toe.

Things were heading a blissful direction until one moment changed the entire trajectory of the team’s path to success for the 2017-18 season.

The Rockets were up 96-95 with about a minute left to go in Game 5 and Paul had himself in an incredible rhythm, having scored 18 of his 20 points in the 2nd half, after a less-than-stellar first.

He starting attacking the paint with serious of spin moves on defending reserve guard Quinn Cook to attempt to a point-blank shot.  After he missed, he started to limp profusely while holding his right hamstring.  He unusually did not run back on defense and was just motionless while standing upright talking to trainer Keith Jones, in fear that his injury could be one that would put the nail in the coffin to their season.

It was as the Rockets did not have the same swagger with just Harden in the fold.  The offense quickly regressed as Mike D’Antoni started to draw up more isolation plays for Harden and things got quite boring watching him dribble out the shot clock out with near non-existent ball movement.

We all have to wonder what could’ve been had Paul’s hammy not failed him in that game.  Could we talking about the Houston Astros and Rockets as winners of recent championships?  Possibly.

Three reasons why the Rockets have reached a turning point. light. Also

Although the 2018-19 got off to a rocky start, the team has reeled off eight of their last nine and are 19-15, four games above .500, for the first time this season.  They’re now just three games behind the Warriors and the Denver Nuggets, the current leaders of the Western Conference.

Paul has injured his hamstring yet again in last week’s contest against the Miami Heat and will be out possibly up to three weeks.  My hopes are pinned on CP3 staying healthy but with the 34-year-old vet not getting any younger, you have to build-in a margin of games that he won’t be able to play as he hasn’t had full, 82-game season since the 2014-15 season, the only time he completed such a feat.

In the meantime, the Rockets were able to sign Austin Rivers for the rest of the season and he’s been a valuable asset so far.  His defense can be streaky but he seems to know when to get it done when it counts, besides it’s good to know that the team has a true point guard to back up Paul when he gets back.  Rivers has connected on 44.4 percent of his threes in his two games with the team (4-for-9).

Can Paul’s banged-up body lead this team to rarefied air?  That’s something we’ll have to monitor as he’ll definitely be here for the next three seasons after inking a four-year, $160 million deal this past off season.

What’s the worst moment of Houston Sports in 2018?  Keep reading further.