Look at the Bright Side…There’s Always Next Year
The Houston Rockets performance, in what ended up being their final game of the post season, can only be described as uninspired.
Though it appeared the Rockets had a lot of things working in their favor heading into Game 6, they never really managed to get going as the Spurs clinched the coveted spot in the Western Conference Finals 116 – 75. The immediate response to the disappointing end to the series was to place the blame on James Harden, who looked uncharacteristically unengaged during Game 5 and Game 6. Harden, who was held to 10 points and committed 6 turnovers, welcomed the blame saying, “Everything falls on my shoulders. I take responsibility for it….both ends of the floor. It’s tough. Especially the way we lost at home for Game 6 but it happened and now we move forward.”
He also expressed that, “As a team, as a unit, we didn’t really have a rhythm and they [Spurs] capitalized on that.” There were murmurs that Harden may have suffered some head trauma in Game 5 which could have explained why he never quite got going in Game 6. Harden put those rumors to rest saying he was “good.” When asked how it felt to lose in this fashion, Harden expressed, “It hurts. It stings. But like I said, we just have to figure [out] a way to get better and we will. But…credit to the Spurs, they had a really good season. They’re a really, really good team. [They’re] extremely well-coached and they were a better team this series.” But is Harden to blame?
Coach Mike D’Antoni said of the defeat, “I feel really bad for them [Rockets] that it ended this way because they did not deserve this. But, at the same time, San Antonio beat us. They beat us…We didn’t have the juice.” It looked like the squad was missing more than juice during Game 5 and Game 6. Not only were the players disconnected from each other, their shots just weren’t falling in. It’s understood that when the Rockets are ON, they can really put away another team with a barrage of 3s. But what happens when those 3-pointers just aren’t falling in? It’s imperative that they to find another way to win or they will continue to eliminate themselves as contenders.
While bringing home a title would have been ideal, it’s important to acknowledge the Rockets had quite the season. D’Antoni said, “I’ve got nothing negative at all to say. I know they feel as bad as I do…This is going to hurt and linger, but hopefully it will spur us on to where we know we’ve got to go. We’ve got to get better next year.”