I have never been a Rockets fan, in fact I would put Houston right up there among my most hated teams in the league. Reasons why aren't very obvious. Maybe because they saved a whining 22-year-old Steve Francis from the Vancouver Grizzlies. Maybe because there's something about Tracy McGrady that just bugs me. Or maybe because I'm forced to acknowledge that they are beloved by over a billion people on the other side of the world. Call it bias but I have no problem predicting and even rooting that the Rockets would get an early start to their offseason.
I am not self indulged enough to think I had anything to do with it, but like I flipped a switch, the suddenly healthy Rockets managed to run off 12 straight wins, not experiencing defeat in over a month. The run propelled the Rockets from 10th in the exceptional Western Conference all the way up to the 7th spot just a mere 3 games out of the West's top spot.
Then the news came that Houston's 7'6 monster had been cut down for the season. Sunday night Yao put in a dismal performace against the retooled Chicago Bulls, posting just 12 points and 6 rebounds in 36 minutes of work -last time I take a Rocket in fantasy...seriously. Little did we know this would be the last we saw from Yao in a Rockets uniform this season.
Midday Tuesday, ESPN and other media outlets began circling the report that Yao suffered a stress fracture in his left foot and would be shut down for the season. Now I have never fractured my foot but I am thinking that trying to lug around all 90 inches and 310 pounds around on one would be far from enjoyable.
So like Bruce Willis finding out he's the one of the dead people that little creepy kid sees, this is the twist that has been dealt to you residents of Texas and China. (I swear this is the only situation where you can compare the two) Your hopes now rely on a backcourt that you can't take seriously when it's led by a guy who was actually referred to as "Skip to my Lou" while with the And1 tour, and a frontcourt that features a man who's biggest appearance this year was looking ridiculous at the dunk contest. Now we know the argument for the Houston supporters will be the man wearing the #1. It's easy to fall in love with his 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists a night, but lets remember just a short month ago the chic topic in Houston was the Rockets going 11-4 in the 15 games McGrady missed while injured. Stories ran rampant over the prospects that Houston could be better without the 6'8 swingman. In light of this it is hard to accept him as the Rockets savior.
There is plenty of relief for you Houston, luckily there is still six weeks left in the regular season. This gives you plenty of time to step back and reanalyze your thoughts. Don't be foolish enough to ride out this playoff run, sever ties and move on. Think about your good fortune living in a state with three basketball teams, it's not too late to hop on the bandwagon with Timmy and Tony, or even J-Kidd and the reigning MVP. Whatever you do, stop counting on your beloved Rockets. The Rockets, while making and nice run are finished. It's sad...but true.