We deserved better from the Rockets in Game 6, and they surely deserved better from themselves. Houston won 55 games this year with an MVP candidate in James Harden, giving us one of the most fun and exciting offensive teams we’ve seen in years. Then they were eliminated on Thursday night on their home floor by 39 points.
To make it worse, the Rockets lost this series even though the Spurs lost Tony Parker after Game 2, and Kawhi Leonard after Game 5. To make it even worse, the Rockets won Game 1 by the score of 126-99 in San Antonio.
For a moment in time, it seemed like the beautiful plan that the Rockets had put together all season was bypassing the Spurs right before our eyes. Sure, the Spurs are the Spurs. Gregg Popovich will always be a living basketball god. But the Rockets let everyone down.
The Rockets changed the game all season. They broke the record for most made three-pointers in a season, taking down the Warriors’ previous record. Houston finished with 1,181 on the year, with the previous record at 1,077.
James Harden was the first player ever to assist for 2,000 points and score 2,000 points. After such a brutal 2015-16 season, the Rockets really turned things around and Harden called it his most fun season yet in the NBA.
But in their final game of the season Harden had 10 points, 7 assists, and 6 turnovers and Houston lost by 39. Dejounte Murray of the Spurs even outscored him.
They Rockets looked shook for the entire game. At halftime, down 19, this was the shot ESPN caught of the two respective leaders of the team. The Rockets never even made a run; the deficit just got larger and larger.
The Rockets didn’t appear to have the fight you’d expect a 55-win team to have. When push came to shove, they weren’t ready to battle. They had a fantastic season and have plenty to build on, but being eliminated by 39 on your home floor is a horrible way to go out.