The Houston Rockets’ memorable 2016-2017 campaign came to a close Thursday night with an embarrassing game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
It wasn’t supposed to end like this. The Houston Rockets were going to go to battle against the Spurs in one of the best game 7s in recent memory. It would give Mike D’Antoni his chance to finally beat Gregg Popovich in the playoffs–something he hasn’t done in his entire career. In the worst case scenario they would lose admirably, garnering respect from fans and pundits.
Instead, a 39-point game 6 loss with only 75 points on the board to the Spurs with no Tony Parker or Kawhi Leonard. The Rockets’ season is over and many people will only remember it by this one tragedy of an exit.
Houston led five points to San Antonio’s four with 10 minutes left in the first quarter, but that’s it. The Spurs led the rest of the way with things getting steadily worse all the way to the end. James Harden played one of the worst games of his career, scoring only 10 points on 2/11 shooting. he tallied seven assists, but turned the ball over six times and fouled out in the fourth quarter.
It was an abysmal performance from start to finish for the Beard, to the point where Stephen A. Smith called for an investigation to see if he was drugged.
Surprisingly enough, not everyone on the Rockets had terrible outings. Trevor Ariza put up 20 points on 50% shooting along with five boards. Clint Capela finished with a double-double, 15 points and 12 rebounds. After that, though, it was pretty bad.
The Spurs played well from the top of the roster to the bottom with four players tallying double-doubles. They were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who poured in 34 points on 62% shooting to go with his 12 boards.
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Now that the season is over, it’s good to remember it wasn’t all bad. It ended horribly, but the Rockets weren’t supposed to make it out of the first round, if the even made the playoffs at all. Most pundits predicted they would win around 40 games–they won 55. They said Harden was a ball hog–he led the league in assists.
None of that makes this game 6 loss easier to handle, but it’s good to keep things in perspective. The feel of things would be a lot worse if Harden’s contract were expiring and he were looking at other teams. There is lots of work to do this summer, but the team is headed in a good direction.
Thank you Houston Rockets for a great season. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had watching basketball, and that’s coming from a guy who had no fewer than seven Yao Ming posters on display in 2007. I can’t wait for next year.
The Spurs will continue on to play the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets will go on vacation. We at Space City Scoop will get to work on putting our thoughts on the season into writing.