At some point in life, you’ve likely heard the encouraging phrase, “Hard work pays off.” Try telling that to the Houston Rockets, though, and your positive preaching will fall on deaf ears. The hard work the James Harden-led Rockets put forth throughout the previous handful of weeks quite literally produced the best post-All-Star-break record in the entire NBA, with Houston boasting a 20-5 effort since Feb. 21; a stretch that featured a nine-game winning streak and a mind-boggling 10.7 net rating.
What rewards did that hard work reap?
Just a handful of days ago, it appeared the answer to that end would be a 2 Seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, and thus, a homecourt edge through at least the first two rounds, should Houston continue to advance. Then, of course, a last-second loss to Oklahoma City in Houston’s regular-season finale ripped the Rockets’ destiny from their own hands. Nevertheless, entering the final evening the regular season, last Wednesday, Houston needed just one domino to fall in its favor for all to remain well — for either Portland or better yet, Denver, to lose to Sacramento and Minnesota, respectively.
Had Denver dropped its regular-season finale, the Rockets would have solidified the 2 Seed from home. The Nuggets went on to sneak past the Timberwolves, 99-95. Portland still remained, though, and a Trailblazers loss would have still seen Houston secure a 3 Seed. Portland, too, outlasting the Kings, 136-135, forcing Houston to watch helplessly as it fell from the 2 Seed to the 4 Seed within a matter of hours.
What now awaits is a 5-seeded Utah Jazz squad that enters the postseason nearly as hot as Houston, owning the third-best post-All-Star-break record (18-7) after winning 13 of their last 16 games.
The less than ideal matchup doesn’t mark the end of the world for Houston, as the Rockets, of course, cruised past the Jazz in the second round of the playoffs last season, 4-1. This Jazz team, however, is better than last year’s edition, bolstered by the second-most efficient defense in the NBA with a rating of 105.2.
Even beyond the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert-led Jazz, though, should Houston once again advance beyond Utah, what will quite likely await given that Houston fell to the 4 seed is the back-to-back defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. As last season revealed, the Rockets can certainly stand toe-to-toe with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and the rest of Golden State’s collection of All-Star-caliber talents, as Houston fell just one quarter short of upsetting the Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
But nevertheless, even with MVP candidate James Harden spearheading a potent offense, it’s a potential matchup Houston would have loved to avoid; and that’s if the Rockets top a 50-win Utah squad.
Hard work pays off, huh?
- 2019 Season - Week 12Area Round of the 2019 Central Texas High School Playoffs as the tournaments continue. Lake Travis has a rematch against San Antonio Madison at Rattlers Stadium in San Marcos. Westlake would go on the Win the State Championship while Cavs would defeat Judson again in 3rd round at the Alamodome but would fall the following […]
- 2019 Season - Week 11Steve and Russell breakdown the 2019 High School Playoffs in Central Texas on 104.9 Horn FM. Bi-District week where districts collide in this first round. McCallum and Westwood battled out....Giddings defeated Houston Kashmir 50-0. Georgetown at LBJ, Lake Travis at Smithson Valley, Vandegrift hosts Bridgeland at home led by Jax Mccauley in a close comeback […]
- 2019 Season - Week 10Russell & Steve cover week 11 on our 10th show as teams get near the playoffs and districts begin to line up as teams edge each other out for the final playoff spots. Russell became a grandpa the night before this show. . . Vista Ridge beat Round Rock 41-38.
- 2019 Season - Week 9Week 9 of The Friday Night Countdown on 104.9 Horn FM is your Pre-Game for Central Texas High School Football for 2019 Season! Thursday Night games we rained out and delayed. Weiss winning 14-7 over Eastview.
- Big Boi to headline Longhorn City Limits presented by Still Austin Whiskey Co. on September 16AUSTIN, TEXAS – Seven-time GRAMMY award winner Big Boi, one-half of OutKast, will headline Longhorn City Limits presented by Still Austin Whiskey Co. on Saturday, Sept. 16. The FREE gameday concert, located on the LBJ Lawn, will open at 3 p.m. with live music prior to the Texas Football vs. Wyoming game at 7 p.m.
- Video: Bill Little tribute on LHN's "Texas GameDay"Texas GameDay paid tribute to Texas Hall of Honor member Bill Little.