Second Round, Here We Come
This feeling I have is strangely familiar. I’m struggling to put my finger on it, but it’s something I’ve felt before. Think, Chris, think…
Wait, is this what it feels like when your team wins a playoff series?
For the first time in 12 years, the Houston Rockets will advance to the second round of the playoffs. And it’s about time. A lot of people don’t even remember what they were doing in 1997. The Rockets do. And they’d undoubtedly like to forget all of the years in between.
When the team went up 3-1 on the Blazers, I was pretty certain that this was going to happen. Still, I said nothing. We’ve screwed this up before, after all. So I waited. I watched them let one slip away in Portland a couple of nights ago. I watched the score on NBA.com tonight since the Bulls and Celtics decided to keep me from actually watching the first half. And when the lead reached 20 with about two minutes left in the game, I finally breathed a sigh of relief. Second round. Yes.
The Blazers put up a good fight. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge will do some damage down the road. But they were the team that I want the Rockets to play because of their youth. Their nerves in their Game One loss proved to be the difference in what was a fairly even matchup.
The team did it without T-Mac. We could probably all say that his jinx has been lifted, but that wouldn’t be any fun. Let him have some motivation to come back and contribute on the court next year so the feat can be repeated.
The euphoria will wear off soon, as a rested Lakers team waits for the Rockets to come to L.A. to try to stop them. The series should still prove interesting, but it’s definitely a tall task, especially with Dikembe Mutombo’s career-ending injury. The Rockets are short on size in the frontcourt, experience at the point and they lack a lights-out scorer, all tools that would help tremendously against the West’s top team.
But those are problems for tomorrow. Tonight we celebrate. Houston. Second round. Words that haven’t been used positively in the same sentence since 1997. Finally.
Second round, here we come.