Good news: The Houston Rockets have become the first team in NBA history to take a lead in a series in which they already got swept.
Confused? Well, you only have to go back a week or so ago to when the media hot take artists declared this series over in four games. Done. History. The Rockets were frauds with zero shot. My Twitter timeline was full of “journalists” declaring this thing over after every 8-0 run by the Warriors. It was like they were honestly tripping over themselves to be the first to declare it finished.
It wasn’t just a collection of ignorant takes about the Rockets, like D’Antoni running “no defense” or Harden/Paul “choking” or the typical hate directed at Houston’s stars or style of play. While that was certainly part of it, it was more than that. In a way, it shed a light on the mindset and philosophy of so many, both in the NBA and those observing it: You can’t win, so why try? We saw more tanking teams than ever this season, largely because of the Warriors as more teams than usual felt they had no chance right out of the gate.
The Rockets didn’t take that approach. They never did. They wanted to take down the Warriors. And in fact, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was straight mocked by the media for merely saying that. Yet here they are in the Western Conference Finals, up 3-2 on the ‘invincible’ Warriors.
With Chris Paul out, Golden State is still favored to win the series, but if they do, it will take the full seven and it will be because the Rockets lost one of their two foundation pieces. There’s no escaping that reality. Win or lose at this point, the Rockets have already proven the ‘No más’ clowns wrong.