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Houston Rockets: Raptors would have been a great NBA Finals matchup

By Michael Knight
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 5: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors shoots the ball during the first half of an NBA game against the Houston Rockets at Scotiabank Arena on March 5, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 5: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors shoots the ball during the first half of an NBA game against the Houston Rockets at Scotiabank Arena on March 5, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The season of the Houston Rockets ended earlier than wanted with a series loss to the Warriors once again. Now that the NBA Finals matchup is set, it’s tough to not look at it and wonder “what if.”

The Houston Rockets finished the season in disappointing fashion, losing to the Warriors once again. It was the end of a year that was a complete rollercoaster for a team with much higher hopes than the second round.

They wasted a golden opportunity given to them with the injury to Kevin Durant, making the Warriors even more vulnerable (maybe?). The Rockets still ended up losing to Golden State, despite the game being in Houston. Understandably so, it left a sour taste in the mouths of both the team and the fans.

If the Rockets would have advanced past the Warriors, they could’ve/should’ve easily dispatched of the Trail Blazers much like the KD-less Golden State did in a sweep. They then would have advanced to the Finals.

Match up in the Finals

With the NBA Finals set to tip off on Thursday night, it’s tough not to look at what could have been. The Toronto Raptors ended up beating the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to their first ever Finals.

That would have been a perfect matchup for the Rockets, who swept the Raptors in the regular season but struggled to play against the Bucks. Milwaukee’s length and defensive versatility gave Houston troubles in their two games against each other. They are the one team, when looking forward at possibilities, that I was worried about besides, of course, the Warriors.

James Harden closing out games on defense, shuts down Kawhi. pic.twitter.com/OKKO9dkyaq

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 26, 2019

But with them out of the picture, the Rockets could have had a favorable matchup against the Raptors in which Houston would likely be picked to win. The Rockets really could have been hoisting up their first championship in 20+ years if they could have taken care of business.

Next. Austin Rivers needs to be re-signed

Now, Houston has to go into this offseason and find ways to improve their squad. They are on the cusp of being the best team in the league, but will need a little more to make that a reality. We will have to wait and see what the front office has in store, but it will definitely be interesting to see. Be sure to stay tuned here for the ever-exciting summer in the NBA! You won’t want to miss it.

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