There were some in the national media that considered it a victory for the Houston Rockets just to be here in a Game 7. You could tell that the Kevin McHale led group weren't just happy with playing in a Game 7, they wanted to be playing in Oakland in a Game 1 on Tuesday night.
They earned that right by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, 113-100.
It is the ninth time in NBA history that a team trailing 3-1 in a series has comeback to win the series. It is the second time the Rockets have done it. Chris Paul and the Clippers have still not qualified for the conference finals.
Not to say that Paul and the Clippers didn't make it interesting in the fourth quarter. Paul helped cut the lead down to eight points, but a Trevor Ariza three pointer with 55.8 seconds left sealed the game.
The Toyota Center was absolutely turned up (hate this phrase, but the kids love it) for this game. It was so loud that the whistles weren't heard when fouls were called, coaches weren't heard when timeouts were called. At one point, Doc Rivers had to run out into the middle of the floor to get the attention of the officials to get the timeout called.
Want proof? The entire lower bowl was standing for the just about the whole fourth quarter. They knew how big this game was.
You could tell the Rockets fed off this energy too. They got off to an early lead and never looked back. Four of the five Rockets starters scored in double figures.
Harden led the Rockets with 31 points. Smith had 15 points on 60 percent shooting, Dwight Howard 16 points and 15 boards, Pablo Prigioni had only four points, but came up with three huge steals off the bench. Terrence Jones had 8 points and Corey Brewer had 11 points. Ariza had 22 and 7.
The Rockets role players definitely outplayed the Clippers role players for the third straight game. Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick, Austin Rivers, Glen Davis and Spencer Hawes were all non-factors in this game. Jamal Crawford did have 17 points and his best game of the series. The other five combined for 14 points.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors will be Tuesday night on ESPN. The game will start at 8 p.m. local time. Stephen Curry vs. James Harden, No. 1 and No. 2 in the MVP voting. Get excited Houston!