The Houston Rockets may not be the smartest, toughest, or most talented team in the NBA, but they are certainly one of the most under-appreciated.
I have to wonder how a team can be on a 19-game winning streak and not grace the front page of every sport magazine or web page in the country. Add in the loss of Yao Ming, and this team is practically a miracle.
Now, I am not saying this has been pretty basketball. The Rockets looked sloppy last night against a weak Nets' squad. The lack of defense and what seemed to be a complete breakdown of offensive flow made the game almost sad to watch.
Either way the truth remains that, despite their lack of rhythm last night, the Rockets are in the midst of something special. They are making history and accomplishing what many have never come close to achieving.
Only the Lakers and the Bucks have registered longer win streaks.
I heard someone say that “Winning messy is better than losing pretty,” and I have to agree.
Will the Rockets break the record for the longest streak? The answer is no, but who really cares! It is not about the streak anymore.
It is about a team—never respected, even in their championship years—coming together and earning their way.
I remember when the Rockets won their first championship. I got my Sports Illustrated the next week, and was surprised to see they weren’t on the cover.
Even yesterday, one flip to ESPN found Barkley and the crew doubting the Rockets' chances of beating the Nets, and calling their streak a thing of luck.
And to think, Barkley used to be a Rocket!
Luck doesn’t beat the Hornets. Luck doesn’t beat the Mavericks. There is nothing lucky about what the Rockets are accomplishing. Why is it luck for some, and skill for others?
If the Lakers were in the same position (and they were twice!), the sports world would be calling them the best team in basketball. At the very least, announcers and sports journalists would be clammering to write about their dominance.
I have tried to reason out why the Rockets have never been appreciated, and I can’t seem to find the answer. I don’t know why a team that has won 19 straight games can’t get the respect they deserve.
I know one thing though—Dikembe Mutombo’s smile says it all. This is a team that is having fun and making the most of the hand they have been dealt.
Win or lose in the playoffs, the Rockets should be proud of what they have done this year. I know I am!