The Agony of Victory

2014 is not 2013. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? All you have to do is look at someone’s phone, or a computer, or a television and there it is: 2014. But for a few days this June, it seemed like last year. The San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat had met up for an NBA Finals rematch to end all rematches, and there was a definite pattern. Convincing game one win by the Spurs, bounce back game two thriller for Miami, Then a nasty blowout in San Antonio’s favor in game three. LeBron and the Heat were just a tiny, tiny bit too much for the Spurs last time around, and it was reasonable to wonder if 2014 was just 2013 over again.

In the wake of game five and the Spurs’ decisive Finals win, it’s safe to say that this is a new year. Last year I headed to San Antonio, hoping to experience a city in the throes of joy and exultation. It was not to be. A game known only as Game Six took place, and gave the Rockets a preview of the devastation that true contention and ongoing greatness can demand. Instead, this time the city did erupt all around me, reveling in their fifth such victory in fifteen years. All was right in San Antonio once again. In one city, everyone was crying out in relief that the natural order was restored once again.

Well, not everyone.

The joy was infectious and easy to join. High fives flowed like water and Spurs flags fluttered on every other car that gradually crept through the throng. News cameras recorded throngs of fans chanting “Go, Spurs, go!” into the night, and everyone stepped to the beat of a black and silver drum. Everyone except for me. The goal was to experience something Houston has been missing for twenty years, since the last Houston Rockets championship in 1995. The reality was that crashing another man’s feast isn’t the same as having your own bounty.

Last year showed how tough living at the top can be, but this year was a lesson on how far the rest of the league really is from the top. The Spurs were not just the best team in the league, but the best team by a landslide. Miami’s 54 win total consigned them to the same grisly fate as the 54 win Trail Blazers: four blowouts and a narrow win. Were the Heat actually any better than their 54 win companions in the West? We may never know, especially since Miami  looked like a team rocked to its core. If even the blistering Heat and rolling Thunder can’t even keep pace with the San Antonio Spurs, what chance do the fledgeling Rockets have?

Seeing a city succumb to paroxysms of triumph brings only reflected joy for Houston. The taste of a neighbor’s celebration is dangerous for Houston; it may have been twenty years, but the addiction to championships won’t ever go into full remission. Rockets owner Les Alexander should have flown his players to San Antonio to incite the same hunger in them, so that they too could feel a pit in their stomachs as they saw another city devour the meal that could have been Houston’s.

Could have, not should have. That hunger will be necessary for the Rockets to even stand a chance in the NBA, but it might not be enough. They still don’t deserve a championship, not yet. Not until they have something that can match the NATO joint army worth of weapons that San Antonio brings to bear. Not until the Rockets can boast a system of selflessness and passing mentality at the level of the Spurs. Not until the leaders of the team begin to lead by example and not by singlemindedness. Kawhi Leonard, Chandler Parsons’ interstate rival, won Finals MVP. Parsons looked like he had closed most of the gap on Leonard during the year, and would give his fellow 2011 draftee a run for his money. No, not this year. Unlike last year, the 2014 Spurs were untouchable.

But as 2014 was not 2013, the hope is that 2015 will be a new year as well. Time is running out, but the Spurs seem adept enough at outracing the hands of the clock. The Spurs are adept at everything, and their victory seems like the only possible outcome, now. Their victory brings joy to millions in one city, and hollows out an equal number just to the east. All fans of the NBA should congratulate the city of San Antonio and their exceptional team on a well-earned championship, yet again. The Rockets and their fans should, too. But they should also let that little pit form in their stomachs. Being hungry and being so far from the table hurts, especially when you thought you had a seat. But if you ever want to sit at the table, you’ve got to be hungry first.

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Total comments: 15
  • thenit says 4 weeks ago

    There is still a difference that Lebron has to go through a minefield to get to the finals while in the East if he joins any team even the Bucks they will be instant contender and Eastern Conference Champions. Its the easy road to get to finals. You have Dion Waiters, Kyrie, Embiid or Wiggins, Tristan Thompsons, and Varejao. You can also argue Bennett isn't a flop yet, I will give him more than half a season before giving him the flop level.

    I just don't think there is no team in the West that stands a chance of getting Lebron just because he wants rings and joining the Rockets would elevate us to the favorite but we have to play the Clipps, Thunders, Spurs etc just to get to the finals, so he won't be here especially when he doesn't have close ties to any of our players.

  • Buckko says 4 weeks ago

    Plus just for the sake of it H&H>>>>Embiid and Kyrie(who is a worst defender than harden statistically)

  • datruth says 4 weeks ago

    sorry hit the wrong button but you both are right

  • datruth says 4 weeks ago

    Rfb and buckko
    you both might are right.
    i'am not sure if they could made it out the west.
    the east was weak

  • Buckko says 4 weeks ago

    Honestly lebron and the heat would not have been able to coast in the west and unless they gave it all. The heat would be smashed every night and I have great doubt they would have HCA and probably get bounced out by the 2nd.

    He did say he was going to discuss the situation with his family which should be a deciding factor.

    Kyrie and embiid looks promising but not contending for a title anytime soon. He's approaching 30 and the team that can put him in the best win now situation while being able to continue to contend down the road will be extremely important. Which plays into Houston's favor considerably.

  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago


    I believe Miami would still make the playoffs in the east. all you need is a movie ticket and a bag of popcorn :lol:the cap room created by Lebron walking would allow Miami to chase other FA's...........again it doesn't take much to make the playoffs in the east.

    Houston and Miami both had the same regular season record this year. do you believe if Miami played in the west they would have had the same record? Miami's problem is D-Wade knees are deteriorating faster than Lebron's hairline. how Miami goes about fixing that void left in the lineup is their biggest problem. if the big three stay together (I suspect they will), how do they fix the talent falloff without any real cap room, draft picks or young promising prospects? will Lebron trust P-Riley to get the job done? I suspect he will, but the appeal of going home as the savior and lifting the downtrodden home masses is not without it's appeal as well. Cleveland is in a better position than the last time they talk to Lebron. Kyrie, Lebron and Embid would bepromising on paper with still boat loads of flexibility to add to that.........hmmmm. discounting Cleveland's potential impact is something Miami better not get caught off guard by or they may end up in Lebron's rear view mirror

  • datruth says 4 weeks ago

    A lot of things came out this year about lebron family.
    I heard that lebron family wasn't with him the first year he was in Miami.
    It took some effort and a promise to get to get married in order to get them to Florida. His family is from the Cleveland area and from what i hear they all still consider that area home. Without Lebron i really don't think that same Heat team makes the playoffs.

  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago


    I agree. all you can really ask for is to be on the radar screen. how you navigate from there is up to the front office. my only point being, there are other factors FA consider besides talent level of suitors. sometimes these factors makes what seems the obvious choice unappealing to the player making the choice

  • Cooper says 4 weeks ago I think for most free agents we are at least going to be in the conversation and that's about all you can ask for.
  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago


    I agree we should be more appealing, but even as good as we look not everybody wants to come here. I know....I know. it's hard for me to believe too :lol:, but facts are facts. there is nothing wrong with your argument. it just comes down to what Lebron wants. he likes cold whether. he lives in Cleveland when not in Miami. there areother factors he will weigh besides talent level of suitors. how much weight he gives them will decide his future. it may still be important to him what happens in Cleveland. I think even if he does leave Miami Cleveland is a front runner at that point. if he was going to go west there are a few better options than OKC, Clippers, Spurs or maybe GSW. sure none have cap room, but all have pieces they could give Miami they would be interested in. bottom line I just don't believe he likes us.....he respects what we're building, but is that enough

  • Buckko says 4 weeks ago

    People talk about Houston not being an option, however there are far more draws than one might think. Besides the warm weather, and no income tax that only Houston and Miami share. You have to look at the competitors.

    Miami just crashed and burned to a superior team and I have no idea out Pat Reilly will replace an entire bench and key contributors like battier, allen, wade's knees, an aging bosh, and just about everyone else except Norris Cole. That party is over.

    Cleveland is still a dumpster fire and if he goes there, its all about sentimental and not championships which no one could compete with. However they do not have the the talent level contending team Lebron wants and needs to succeed.

    Chicago Does lebron want to risk his legacy on Rose's knees after watching wade's fail him? Income tax hurts too there and the bulls would have to gut their team to get him.

    Houston offers as I said warm weather, no income tax, big city, the best SG and center in the game, a deep supporting cast in a franchise with a strong and willing sense to win (Morey and Alexander). Lots of young talent to ride out his prime with and take the load off his back along with all their future picks plus some and European stashed players to keep the ball moving moving into the twighlights of his career. That's the problem with Miami, they traded away all their assets to point where they couldn't replace what they were losing to age. As an added note he could join the team that swept the team that destroyed his team in the finals and invade on their home turf in the SW. If that's relevant or not, just fun fact.

    Opening up cap space would be rather easy than you think considering lebron can't take a contract nearly as big as melo's due to CBA rules. Dump lin to a rebuilding team with the 25th pick and trade asik out of conference to the celtics for a future 1st. Garcia opts out and lebron just has to take a very slightly, small pay cut to make the salary work. Then resign parsons to a 4 year 40 million dollar deal.

    Lineup Beverley-Harden-Parsons-Lebron-Howard bench Cannan-Daniels-Covington-Jones-Demo along with some veteran minimum FA, preferably a 3rd string center in elton brand or okafor and some shooters.

    People keep telling me no, but I seriously don't see any option even close to us in desirability.

  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago


    I would also love to have Lebron, but believe it to be a long shot at best. we can't get below the cap enough to entice him through FA and we have a much slimmer hope of getting Miami to cooperate than NY in a sign and trade. I believe Miami would much rather have the cap space of a Lebron departure than Lin and Asik. with cap space they could chase people like Lowry and Deng. they might have some interest in Asik, but a third team would have to be brought in to take Lin......costing us more assets. it's really at the end of the day up to Lebron. I don't believe he is interested in us. I believe the Lebron chase to be a3 horse race. Miami(ahead by 5 lengths), Cleveland(distant 2nd), Chicago(stuck in the starting gate). he may leave, but I doubt it. even if he leaves we probably won't be considered among his favorite landing spots

  • thejohnnygold says 4 weeks ago

    This is an interesting scenario you put forth. Maybe that Lillard shot had to go in so that destiny could follow its desired course. I could get used to seeing LeBron on our squad real quick. B)

  • Buckko says 4 weeks ago

    I remember reading an article how Houston would not win the championship, but could seriously disrupt the playoffs. Imagine in theory Lilard's shot rims out, Houston wins game 7, takes out SA and the thunder go to the NBA finals. I say that because SA was 0-8 against Houston and OKC, just bad match ups I guess. Anyway Ibaka being healthy for the WCFs could provided a similar outcome ending in OKC's 2nd shot at the championship because they simply outclass the rockets.Now I don't know if Miami's age would get killed by the thunder's athleticism and talent instead of the spurs the system, but they would only have to worry about 2 players in KD and westbrook instead of an entire team. Thus for theory's sake. Miami 3peats and lebron stays in South Beach. Killing any lebron dream and duncan retires for extra drama.

    Now its even started, people talking as I've seen in a tweet and a couple articles (I know it's not much but it's just the morning after the championship) discuss how pairing up with H&H and their young and talented team on the rise seems far more interesting for the king than other options available. I can go on why it would be attractive to lebron, but as dedicated rocket fans on this forum, you definitely can think of a few reasons. Thus Morey goes big or goes home. The Beard, Superman, and King united, championships behold and in futures' time we look back at what would have happened if that shot went in.

    I won't talk about lebron anymore unless discussions began about him and reports fire up as I do not want to be an irritant. I just can't seem to get much into melo talk when something so much more alluring is on the horizon.

  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago


    good read and I agree watching another team devour the meal we could have had may ignite our troops.......lets hope it will anyway