Well, the season's finally over, every single game. It had it's ups and downs, but in the end our late season run was not enough to make up for our lackluster first half. We did have a good amount of highlights this year though, because although not winning as many games as we would have liked to, we did watch a very entertaining team. Right now I'd like to go through my personal selection for our Top Ten Plays of the Season. (Idea taken from Bright Side of the Sun - The Phoenix Suns blog. Great blog, go over there and read about how much they hate AB).
All videos thanks to Clutch from Clutchfans.
Great play by Ish, wish we had kept him longer but what are you gonna do?
Just a beautiful play throughout. I was lucky enough to be sitting under the basket in which Courtney scored in, so I had a great view of the pass. Courtney was looking a lot like a WR this play.
Recent one, fresh in our minds. If we had made the playoffs, this probably would have ranked higher. Part of our "Let's tease the fans by playing great basketball when it's too late" run.
Pointed out by TDS (Most would have made the top ten if I didn't miss them the first time around):
This one was pointed out by NVP. Lowry made an amazing defensive play to block the 7-footer from winning the game. Little guy with big heart.
A game against our hated rivals, the Jazz, Lowry finds Patterson on the break for an gigantic slam! This one was pointed out by craigj007.
jake_471 pointed out to me that I had left this little skirmish out. This was incrediible by Chuck, but by his own words it was just "Two competitive guys going at it." Great effort by Chuck in a game that the Rockets won.
Onto the plays!
Lowry earned a reputation this year of playing incredibly well against the team that gave him up for close to nothing. This game was extremely boring other than this play, because the Rockets raced out to a 30 point lead by the second quarter. Still, great defensive play by the little man; reminding us all what kind of defensive player he is.
This one was at Memphis, the only game of the season I missed (sick, went to sleep early).Ended up losing this game, but this highlight shows great passing and execution by the Rockets. This one is more symbolic than it is amazing. I believe that this play really sums up the chemistry and attitude of no selfishness by the Rockets, and that's why in my opinion it belongs on this list.
The most recent play on the list takes place at our last home game of the 2010-2011 season. In a back-and-forth game with the Mavericks, Courtney couldn't find his shot early on. Ironically, the man who had been hot all night, Goran Dragic missed a wide open three to set up the great putback by Courtney. Studying this play a little more, it takes absolute perfect timing and concentration or this play doesn't happen. Sadly, the Rockets lost this game, but gave it a great effort (minus the overtime).
Another game that we eventually lost, the Zombie Sonics played us pretty well this year. This highlight seems to be forgotten a lot because of the outcome of the game (also the Zombies had two nasty dunks on us that night), but it is the one of the only great blocks the Rockets had on the year (this was pre-Patterson). Also, it's Jared Jeffries! That mix has to earn you a top ten spot, right?
This play was a little confusing. I was attending the game, and when it happened, the crowd really didn't know how to react. Did you cheer like crazy? No, DeAndre Jordan just picked up the ball and put it in, you'll look stupid. The crowd just ended up buzzing for a bit, but upon replay it was good to see that Patterson had risen up and rejected the so called "Dunk Champion". Another recent highlight, in a game that the Rockets easily won, although a bit too late.
As I type this, I realize that a trending topic within this post is "good plays made in bad games". I can't help it, I'm sorry. The Rockets didn't have many buzzer-beating game winners this year. In this game, Courtney Lee takes the steal from Aaron Brooks and flushes it over the rainbow colored Nuggets center. Lee showing his athleticism and ability to finish is what earned him more minutes later in the year after Battier had been traded. Simply, a good play by a good player.
Lowry also gained another reputation this year, and that was end-of-the-quarter heroics. He would put up a prayer, and it would usually get answered. Sadly, none of these highlights are in the fourth quarter for the win, but they are all amazing when you think how often he did it. I'm leaving out his shot clock buzzer beaters, because I would have about 6-7 more videos to find and upload onto here.
What a game. What a freakin' game! I remember thinking that to myself for the next week. At the time, Battier was my favorite player, and the Rockets had a pitiful record. This was the second game I attended this season (first was the home opener), and my own personal prayers were answered while the Rockets were trailing in the fourth quarter. Battier just took over and hit two clutch threes, follow by a jumper after a Kobe flop, and sealed the deal with three more free throws. Just a great individual effort.
This paragraph won't have anything bad to say about the Jazz, other than they are hated here. They are hated more than any other team, and rightfully so. So when Martin makes a great 3-point play to finish the Jazz, it ranks pretty high. This is probably the closest we'll get to an actual game-winner, but I'll take it. In this game, fate decided to stick to our side instead of sealing the lid on the hoop as it did for much of the rest of the season. But overall it was a great play made by a great player in a pretty great game.
Wait, you're kidding right? If I click that, I'm going to a game-winning play or a sick dunk right? Wrong. I'm completely serious about this pick for number one. I realize that both our point guards (Dragic and Lowry) also had triple doubles this year, but this one was special. This was Chuck Hayes. For any newer Rockets fans, let me tell you how Chuck Hayes was acquired. On January 18, 2006, Hayes signed a 10-day deal with the Rockets due to the amount of injuries that hit the roster. Being about 4 inches short for being a power forward, Chuck Hayes dealt with adversity since day 1. Still, he showed great defensive effort and quickly earned a spot on the roster. Years later, he was forced into the starting role of Center with Yao Ming out for the 2009-2010 season. Chuck responded well to the extra amount of time. This year, with Yao out again, Chuck was once again thrust into the starting lineup. This time, with a much improved offensive game and his defensive game still as good as ever. Being a full 6 inches short than an average starting center (Not true, but 7ft sounds right), Chuck played with incredible heart, hustle, and determination. I think this triple-double really marked the amount of work and effort he puts in on a nightly basis. Hayes may be a little small for his position, but his heart is anything but.
Anyways, remember that this is all my opinion. Obviously some disagreement will be expected, but I'd like to hear your opinions. I originally wanted to just post videos, but I thought some analysis was necessary.