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Clutch City Reloaded

Before this series began, I didn’t give the Houston Rockets a snowball’s chance in hell of beating the Los Angeles Lakers. My reasoning was based on a number of factors. Number one was the loss of Tracy McGrady, the one person who could go point-for-point with #24. Two, I didn’t give Houston’s front-line a lot of credit, outside of Yao Ming. He was the one match-up problem the Lakers would face, but I’d seen enough Rockets games to know they forget he’s even out there at times. Their front-line is solid, but I didn’t think they would be able to match the output of Odom, Gasol, and Ariza (I left Bynum out purposely), but I can tell you, right now, that I’ve never been happier to be 100% wrong. I also didn’t like how they completely would forget Yao was out there, and try to play one-on-one instead. You just don’t do that, when you have Yao, who’s 100% unguardable, on your team.

I picked the Rockets to get by the Portland Trailblazers, due to their experience, but the buck was supposed to stop there. They have a starting point guard, who seems to be more of a scoring guard (hell, I’m already not a fan of “combo guards,” let alone undersized, shoot-first point guards), and scoring forwards who seem to forget they have the best center, BY FAR, in the NBA. But what have the Rockets done? They found a way to extend this thing to seven games, because they play defense, they play hard, and they play together. On Inside the NBA, Kenny “The Jet” Smith said this could realistically happen over a week ago, and I wanted to laugh in his face. Now, I just want to shake the man’s hand, because he was right-on-the-money.

Now I find myself admiring a player who went to Duke, which, if you’ve frequented ETSF enough, you will see that rarely ever happens. Shane Battier should be on everyone’s favorite player list at this point, for taking on the challenge of guarding the best offensive player on the planet, and giving him hell. There aren’t enough words to describe the small forward of our All-Goon Team, Ron Artest. He said they would play hard, win fair-and-square, or lose fair-and-square. Kyle Lowry, Carl Landry, Von Wafer, Luis Scola, and Chuck Hayes all contribute, and their effort and hustle is never in question. On top of that, Aaron Brooks picked up where Deron Williams left off, and has turned Derek Fisher into his personal man-bit*h. They are all making Hakeem the Dream, Vernon Maxwell, Sam Cassell, Rudy Tomjanovich, and The Jet proud right now.


I haven’t heard one Rockets player, coach, staff member, or hell, even a Rockets fan make any excuses about them losing their starting center, their back-up center, or not having T-Mac in this series. They just lace up their shoes, and go hoop. If that can’t be appreciated, especially in a playoffs where I’ve seen more excuses than I’ve ever seen in my whole damn life, I don’t know what to tell ya.

Ed went ahead and killed the Lakers in his previous article, and rightfully so. I vowed to him I will never write an article on them again in my life, so the point today is to show it may not be so much about what the Lakers aren’t doing. It may just be that the Houston Rockets are pretty damn good. They could go out, and lay an egg on Sunday, but they won’t, since they actually have the balls to go out and play hard for 48 minutes. Dare say, these boys could mess around and shock the world.

Be easy.

-K. Masenda
www.edthesportsfan.com

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