Everything is at stake for the Houston Rockets in Game 7

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
James Harden Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Everything is at stake for James Harden and Russell Westbrook

The only knock that remains on James Harden and Russell Westbrook is their lack of playoff success. When the pair made the Finals in 2011 with Kevin Durant, it looked like multiple championships awaited the pair.

Almost a decade later, the duo has accomplished everything a player can on an individual level but has come up empty-handed in pursuit of an NBA title. The partnership between the two MVPs was meant to take the Rockets higher. Both are the wrong side of 30. Both have monster contracts. Both need the ball in their hands to be at their best.

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A first-round exit would cast reasonable doubt that this pair is the one to take a title back to Houston. Harden and Westbrook have already solidified their status as great players. This season was about asserting themselves as great winners. A Game 7 loss and first-round exit will forever tarnish two of the league’s statistically most impressive performers of the past decade. In this game, two future Hall of Famers’ legacies are on the line.

Everything is at stake tonight for the Houston Rockets

A loss would represent the ultimate playoff humiliation for a franchise that has endured so many horrible collapses in recent memory. The Rockets, to widen their championship window, shipped Chris Paul and two first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook.

For the Rockets to be bested by the Thunder and Chris Paul would prove what a horrible miscalculation moving him in the first place was. The satisfaction it would bring Paul would no doubt make the defeat even more harrowing for the Rockets.

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Everything the Rockets have been fighting for as a franchise has come down to a single game. It’s more than just win or go home. It’s win or face judgment day.