The Rockets have an excuse for everything.
The Rockets have multiple excuses for everything.
James Harden not winning MVP? Media narrative. Or the award existing at all.
Houston losing to the Warriors in the 2018 Western Conference finals? Officiating. Or Chris Paul‘s hamstring injury.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey:
Really, just one of all the all-time great teams is keeping us from winning. And a hamstring probably kept us from a title.
Morey started off well. As good as Houston has been the last few years, Golden State was just better. There’s no shame in that. The Rockets stood up to the Warriors while other teams cowered – and should be commended for it.
But part of the reason Houston got so close to Golden State in 2018 was placing a heavy burden on a 33-year-old Paul. That made him more susceptible to injury, and the Rockets got burned.
Warriors forward Andre Iguodala also got hurt during that series. If Houston wants to play “what if?” with its injury, it seems only fair to do the same with Golden State.
Or maybe the Rockets should just move on. Though I’m open to an occasional lament – especially with the season halted – Houston seems to have a counterproductive fixation on claiming victimhood. Even Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta admitted his team feared the Warriors.
When Kevin Durant got hurt in last year’s second-round series against Houston, Golden State found a way to win. To be fair, the Warriors’ surplus of talent made it easier for them to overcome adversity than it has been for the Rockets. But Houston would do well to mimic Golden State’s championship approach rather than dwell on misfortune.
And for what it’s worth, the Rockets – though probably favored – wouldn’t have been a lock over LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals.