So many important things tonight.
1. It would make the final game of the season at New Orleans meaningless, so McHale could rest everyone and let Troy Daniels and Robert Covington play 48 minutes.
2. It would give Houston the first season sweep of the Spurs since the 1988-89 season, when the two teams met six times and Houston won all six.
3. It would avoid the 2008-09 Doomsday Scenario repeat.
"What's the 2008-09 Doomsday Scenario?" you ask.
Here it is:
On the last day of the 2008-09 season, the Rockets had a chance to be the 2 seed. However, they had the chance to fall all the way to the fifth seed. Houston controlled its own fate since it had the tiebreaker over San Antonio.
The Rockets played in Dallas that night. Dallas needed the win to clinch the sixth seed, which they wanted.
Concurrently, the Spurs were playing the Hornets (who were terrible) in San Antonio.
Later that night, the other two teams trying to get the 2/3 seeds, Denver and Portland, were playing in Portland.
Houston lost. It was in Dallas, so of course they did. But if San Antonio lost, the Rockets could still get the 3 seed by winning the Southwest Division.
The Spurs needed overtime to beat the Hornets, who tried for 48 minutes but refused to put forth effort for five more. So the Rockets couldn't finish second or third (because of tiebreaker issues with Denver). But the Rockets could still clinch the fourth spot if Denver beat the Blazers in Portland.
However, because of those earlier results Denver was guaranteed the third seed, so they didn't try in Portland. So the Blazers won and clinched fourth place in front of a raucous home crowd, all while Houston sat in Dallas and cursed how the schedule broke against them and forced them to play a team on the road that was actually trying while their competition played teams that weren't trying.
Well, Houston once again controls its destiny. A win tonight over San Antonio would clinch fourth place and home court against the Blazers. And a win would avoid the possible doomsday again. Because meanwhile, Portland will have a home game against a team (the Clippers) that will have third place wrapped up and won't try. Funny how history repeats itself.
Also, I think it would hurt Houston's momentum to lose to two teams that have nothing to play for and then have to travel to Portland for games 1 and 2. I still like Houston in that series, but Portland would have much more confidence than Houston going in.
Finally, the Spurs are still my pick to win the title. I've been saying it all year. I kept saying that everyone was dismissing them like they always do and that I wouldn't fall for that Spurs trick. That's at least one thing I haven't hedged on. Take that, BD and Mike!
As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.
Spurs vs Rockets coverage