Barring some miraculous turn of events, the Houston Rockets’ 2011-2012 season ended last night in Dallas. They came out scorching hot and even kept things together in the 3rd (outscoring the Mavericks 29-23), only to get pummeled in the 4th by Dirk Nowitzki and co.
Dirk finished with 35 after scoring just 4 points in the first half. Vince Carter turned back the clock, keeping Dallas in it in the first half, including a pair of uncontested dunks. Jason Terry was Jason Terry and Jason Kidd hit some timely 3′s.
The good guys were led by Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee who combined for 36 points. Luis Scola (18 points) had some beautiful moves inside. But the most impressive contributor by far was Marcus Camby, listed as a game-time decision, who logged 37 grueling minutes, grimacing in pain with each motion. The old man finished with 17 boards in total, adding to my amazement and cementing the axiom that gifted specialists are the one breed which enjoy longevity in basketball.
As things technically aren’t completely over, I’ll save the brunt of the big picture discussion for next week. (You never want to be the guy writing the obituary for the dead guy that wakes up in the operating room.) But I share your frustration. What can you really do? The only thing that saves what has transpired this past week as going down as the most epic collapse in Houston sports history is the fact that sadly, it didn’t even really matter: no one gave them a chance in the postseason to begin with and most in the city didn’t even care.
I’m searching for a silver lining but there really are none to be found. Bill and Bull ‘explained’ after the game that experiences like this were necessary and that from it, the team would grow and get better, a sentiment with which I heartily disagree. ’Learning experiences’ are the story for teams with cemented nucleus’ (nuclei?) around which they plan to build around and keep for the long haul. That’s not the case here where it’s up in the air if even the two biggest contributors will return and pretty much any and everyone will be on the block.
But there will be plenty of time for reflection upon this season once it officially ends.
For now, the team gets back at it at New Orleans tonight. It probably doesn’t matter.