If you got excited about the Houston Rockets chances against the Golden State Warriors in last year’s Western Conference finals, you were left heartbroken. Chris Paul suffered another major injury that sidelined him during the playoffs.
For Paul, this was nothing new. This was the same story back in L.A. when he was a Clipper. Ultimately the task of beating Golden State, without CP3, proved to be too much for the Rockets.
Before last year, there were also some playoff series where James Harden got hurt or ran out of gas. Critics have said that Harden needs to sit out and rest more during the regular season like his other colleagues.
Harden had this to say: “I’m a hooper and I just want to hoop. I’ll rest when I’m done” (per Mark Berman of Houston television station KRIV).
So, once again, here we are. There are many “almost” moments for the Rockets, but as R&B singer Brandy put it, “ALMOST DOESN’T COUNT.” Sure, you want to get excited but then there’s that thought that creeps into the back of your mind and reminds you that you’ve been here before. Will this year be any different?
The Rockets are playing great down the stretch. They are on an exciting winning streak after a rocky start to the season. The frontcourt addition of Kenneth Faried has proven to be a major boost in terms of energy, production, and toughness. Faried’s value was apparent when he filled the void created by Clint Capella’s injury.
Paul has returned to the lineup and is playing well. Harden continues to elevate the game of basketball and wow fans, night in and night out, with his offensive supremacy. While it’s exciting to see the Rockets on a roll as the regular season winds down, playoff injuries and fatigue are always a concern for this team.
When it comes to the Houston Rockets, you want to fall in love, but it feels like there’s someone better to choose. What if Harden or Paul or – even worse – both suffer injuries that either limit or sideline them? Are all their hopes and dreams depending on Paul’s hamstrings?
This has been an extremely competitive regular season. Even teams like the Suns and the Cavs – the worst team in each conference – can give you a run for your money and make you look like a terrible team. The playoffs are next level. Expect every team to bring it. No matter where Houston finishes in the Western Conference, their path to the Finals will be challenging.
How much faith do you have in this team? Would you bet money on the Houston Rockets beating the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs this year? Do you think this team will finally make it to the Finals? Or is there something that makes you hesitant just as much as it makes you confident?
The next few months will help answer those questions.