Houston Rockets: It’s not Over
All good things must come to an end, and the Houston Rockets’ 22-game winning streak ended quite definitively Tuesday night. Houston just couldn’t get any offense going against a bigger Boston Celtics squad to continue the NBA’s second-longest streak ever.
Most people figured that the streak would end during this tough five-game stretch, myself included. I’d never say anything because I feared the jinx, but I was ready for it to be over, for the attention and the circus to subside a bit so that the team could get back to playing ball.
The team’s detractors will point to the loss, saying that Houston’s schedule worked out in their favor, allowing them to pile up wins against teams that were not the cream of the crop. There is probably a bit of truth in this, but the Rockets were a questionable team themselves when the streak began, sitting at tenth place in the conference. Nevertheless, they played the teams that were on their schedule and ascended briefly to sole possession of first place in a brutal Western Conference. Star center Yao Ming, lost for the season with a broken foot, was absent from the last ten of those wins.
It was thought by many that they would fade without Yao in the lineup. That possibility still exists with 15 games left. Although they are tied for first with the Lakers right now, any sort of losing streak can drastically affect positioning. With road games against New Orleans, Golden State and Phoenix looming on the schedule, fear of said losing streak is present on the minds of many fans.
So what lies ahead for the Rockets? A playoff berth? Another first round exit? The franchise’s first series win in a decade? Time will only tell. The team has received no respect from anyone as far as playoff expectations are concerned. This is probably justified, since team leader Tracy McGrady has yet to win a series in his career. Most Rocket fans would like to disagree with those predictions, although we don’t really have any evidence to use in an argument.
So all that we can do is watch and wait. The enthusiasm the streak has generated has been magnificent for a city that seemed to have a general ambivalence toward the team beforehand. Perhaps there will be some momentum that will carry the team through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, where their true talent will be measured and tested.
So tonight I’m a little sad that it’s over and proud that I was able to witness history being made by my favorite team. But tomorrow is a new day with a new challenge and you can’t live in the past at the expense of the present and the future.
Because it’s not over.