It's 1:23 am EST as I sit in my transplanted Florida home and contemplate the scenario. Is this actually happening? Did we really just force game 7?
I'm proud. Truly proud. My Rockets have re-discovered their Clutch City roots. Tonight I began having flashbacks of coming back from being down 3-1 to Chuckster and the Suns. I flashed on Mario Elie's kiss of death in Utah. To put the finishing touches on my stroll down memory lane, I revisited Ralph Sampson's catch and shoot miracle against the Lakers in '86. These warm fuzzies remind of times when we weren't supposed to succeed, and yet.......
This is why we actually play the games.
From this point on, I will not be bothered if we lose. Make no mistake, I'm dying to win. I can just TASTE the sweetness of flying under the radar and yanking the carpet out from under the Lakers. And it's now winner take all, one game, sudden death. But if we fall I am content that we have gotten a lot of respectful attention that we didn't have before.
The odds are against us yet again. We will face a hostile crowd. We will face an angry team that is now officially humiliated at having to go 7 games with a team that is minus 2 of their top players. We will face a refereeing corps that will be reluctant to make calls in the visiting team's favor(and twice as reluctant when it comes to Artest) unless they are blatant offenses(please God, hear my cries, no Bennett Salvatore or Joey Crawford either). Never mind the notion that both the NBA and the TV network want to see Kobe vs. LeBron. They always deny it as a factor that influences anything, even though we all know that it has to and therefore does.
So even though the deck is still stacked against us, history gives us hope. I am proud of them no matter what happens this weekend.