From the AP:
According to multiple sources, ESPN has decided not to include the Rockets in the 2009 NBA playoffs.
"We simply don't think they are good enough," said an ESPN spokesman. "They do not deserve to compete for a championship with these other fine franchises. Especially without Tracy McGrady."
ESPN will likely replace the Rockets with the Phoenix Suns, the current ninth seed in the Western Conference. If that is not the case, ESPN said the 8th seed will be awarded to the Boston Celtics, giving them a playoff spot in both NBA conferences.
"We really, really like the Boston Celtics," said ESPN.
ESPN explained their reasoning for not including Houston. "The Rockets aren't very marketable. Sure, they have Yao Ming, but he's just your average 20/10 guy. Nobody cares about that anymore."
ESPN added, "Who the hell is Von Wafer? Chuck Hayes? Kyle Lowry? Our ratings are going to plummet if the Rockets are a playoff team."
Although the Rockets have won 50+ games, have beaten Denver, Portland, Utah, San Antonio, New Orleans and Dallas at least twice, have won against Cleveland and Boston without McGrady, and recently made Chris Paul look like a piece of [excrement], their credentials are not up to par with ESPN's standards.
"It's not like we hate the Rockets or anything," said ESPN. "They just...well....no comment."