Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
As we sat back and watched the Houston Rockets season unfold there were times that we could get down on them a little bit. They let a few games get away that they shouldn’t have. An early season game against the Utah Jazz comes to mind. The Philadelphia 76ers stole a game in November, as did the Los Angeles Lakers with their 99-98 win in Houston.
There’s the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in which the Rockets scored 73 points in the first half and only mustered 19 in the second half as the game slipped through their fingers.
We all remember that one.
This is what fans and to a degree coaches and players do. As we’re all consumed by the grind of the season it is easy to nitpick a missed opportunity here or there in the past while having tunnel vision in regards to looking toward the future. There isn’t a whole lot of time to observe the scope of the big picture.
Houston’s final 54-28 record is the 5th best record in franchise history.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 17, 2014
That’s pretty strong. It becomes even stronger when you consider the depth, strength and competitiveness of the Western Conference. Every team has stuff to deal with as they maneuver through the ups and downs of a grueling regular season. The Rockets are no different.
There are injuries. Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard alone missed a combined 60 games between them. There were other serious peripheral issues that were much more important than basketball. Kevin McHale lost his mother in December. This came a mere 12 months after the passing of his daughter.
Sampson later left to accept the head coaching position at the University of Houston.
It was a very eventful season for the Rockets. Yet they kept everything together and had a strong 2013-14 campaign. This time last year, they were a 45-37 team that was a No. 8 seed going up against the top seeded Thunder. This time around they added nine wins to that total and climbed up to the No. 4 seed which means they have home court advantage against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Sunday and Game 1 will be here soon enough and we can all go back to nitpicking and agonizing over every play as we look forward to anticipating a deep Houston playoff run. Until then, step back and reflect on the big picture of what’s gotten them to this point. It’s not a bad view.