Houston Rockets end their season on an optimistic note

Amen Thompson of the Houston Rockets had his first triple-double against the Clippers
Amen Thompson of the Houston Rockets had his first triple-double against the Clippers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

It's over.

This isn't the first article we've started that way. It's not even the second article we've started that way. This time, we mean it: it's over.

The Houston Rockets have no remaining games in the 2023-24 NBA season.

At least they ended on a positive note. The Rockets defeated the LA Clippers by a final score of 116-105 in Sunday's action.

This one very much felt like an end-of-the-season affair. The Clippers took an opportunity to rest Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Paul George. Still, Rockets fans walked away from this contest with a lot to look forward to.

Houston Rockets' young core shine in win

How about Amen Thompson's first career triple-double? He finished this one with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Thompson contributed 3 steals and 3 blocks as well.

Cam Whitmore didn't fail to impress either. The rookie wing had 21 points. Rockets fans were encouraged to see him finish with 5 assists given his typically low counting stats in that area as well.

Sure, this game didn't count for much. The Rockets let Boban Marjanovic run roughshod in the fourth quarter. He was his typically comical self, missing two free throws down the stretch to ensure some free chicken for the Clippers faithful.

Still, strong performances from rookies always count for something. After all, Thompson and Whitmore will be sophomores next season. The expectations for both will rise accordingly.

Houston Rockets close season on a high note

So, after three years of dwelling in the NBA's basement, the Houston Rockets turned in a .500 season. Their 19-win increase was the largest in the league in 2023-24.

No, they didn't make the postseason. They were the most improved team in the NBA. That has to make this season an unqualified success.

Are there questions about their young core moving forward? Sure - there are plenty. The Rockets don't have the type of young player that you can clearly build a championship contender around.

At the same time, they have a surplus of young players who could reach that level. Those players are continuously developing chemistry. This organization gave their fans a lot to be excited about in 2023-24.

Now, they'll turn their attention to 2024-25.