It’s the final day of the regular season and the Houston Rockets fate is within their control.
With the Utah Jazz losing to the Mavericks and the Rockets win over the Timberwolves the two teams swapped positions. The Kings are on tap for the Rockets and Utah is in LA for the Kobe Bryant curtain call sans Rudy Gobert. Though it’s been a frustrating season the fact remains the Rockets would have to lose and the Jazz win for them to not make the playoffs.
Although it’s been a long frustrating season, this is one of the few times the Rockets appear to have the clear advantage. And, while Red Nation has repeatedly witnessed the team blow opportunity after opportunity it sure feels like a sense of desperation has finally kicked in.
Some will say winning might not be best for the franchise given they’ll lose their draft pick to Denver via the failed Ty Lawson experiment. Still others will contend the Rockets have the talent and appear to be gelling at the perfect time to offer an upset in the making.
Entering the day, here’s the news and notes on the Rockets.
Anyone remotely interested in the NBA is focused on the 14 games this evening which will determine the final seeds for the NBA Playoffs. However, there is still time for some players to think about off court situations. Case in point Dwight Howard is organizing a blood drive in honor of Craig Sager. ESPN’s Calvin Watkins reported on the event:
The drive will take place Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT at the Toyota Center in Houston, prior to the Rockets’ regular-season finale against the
Hosting the blood drive in conjunction with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor program. Everyone who donates or attempts to donate will receive a commemorative T-shirt featuring an illustration of Howard and Sager with the hashtag #SagerStrong.
Regardless of whether the Rockets make the playoffs or not team owner Leslie Alexander has stated they’ll be a thorough examination of the entire franchise in the off season including General Manager Daryl Morey. Though some pundits feel Morey has been trigger happy and deservedly should come under scrutiny Taylor Smith of Fastbreak feels it’s not warranted as per his article: Daryl Morey is not the problem in Houston:
"He nabbed players like Chandler Parsons, Carl Landry and Clint Capela with no pick coming higher than No. 25. He turned Rafer Alston into Kyle Lowry. He turned Aaron Brooks into Goran Dragic and a first-round draft choice. And, of course, turned Kevin Martin and a couple of picks into Harden. It hasn’t yet amounted to a championship, but Morey has repeatedly put the Rockets in position to succeed in the long-term. Any replacement the Rockets would get isn’t likely to prove to be an upgrade."
Back on the court tonight offers a much anticipated final game with a rested Harden. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle notes the rest Harden got in game versus Minnesota was a welcome relief albeit seldom occurrence this season.
"Harden has led the NBA in minutes played this season, averaging 38.1 per game, and has been sitting out only in the first half of games before the Rockets took a 29-point lead into the fourth quarter, ending Harden’s night early."
And finally heading into their last game which could ultimately determine whether they enter the post season is apparently being approached with the players feeling no pressure. Once again Feigen of the Chronicle provided quotes from Howard and Josh Smith in this regard:
"“ “- Howard We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves,” Rockets center Dwight Howard said. “We know the situation that we’re in. The best thing to do right now is just play. We control what we can control. We can’t look at different scenarios and hope this team loses and this team plays bad. We’ve just got to go out there and handle our business."
"“ ” – Smith We’re not being over-anxious,” Rockets forward Josh Smith said. “That’s what we need to do to stay focused. We got to worry about what we can control. The next game is Sacramento. We have to worry about taking care of business."
That wraps up the Daily Rocket Science for Wednesday, April 13th. Enjoy the game this evening and check in with Space City Scoop as we update on all thing Houston Rockets throughout the day.
And, if you’re a fan of teams other than the Rockets make sure to watch either the Warriors as they attempt to create history via a 73rd win or Kobe Bean Bryant as he takes his final curtain call of his 20 year career.
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