First off, The Dream Shake would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. No matter how your 2016 turned out, hopefully your 2017 is better.
Secondly, what better way to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 with a game between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. I’m writing this preview while both Clippers-Rockets and Knicks-Pelicans are at halftime so excuse my ignorance of anything that occurred in the second half of those contests.
Obviously, both teams are on the second night of a back-to-back tonight, with the Knicks having to make the quick plane trip from New Orleans to Houston. Both teams are firmly in the playoff picture, but for the Knicks their situation is more tenuous, as the difference between the 5 and 9 seed is one game. Of course, it’s early to be thinking about that stuff.
The Knicks have dreams of chasing the 3 seed in the East, and that’s not much of a stretch for them given Boston’s play.
Courtney Lee is day-to-day with a wrist injury. Otherwise the Knicks will be fully healthy.
Before we finish, I thought it would be nice to go over the Rockets’ best moments of 2016. I know that last season was a shitshow and it’s better to leave it in the past, but even in the midst of that mess the Rockets had some fun moments.
In no particular order, but generally in chronological order (all highlights courtesy of Youtube):
- February 25: The Rockets overcome a 21-point third quarter deficit in Portland with a 33-12 fourth quarter to beat the Blazers 119-105. James Harden dropped 46, including 19 in the fourth quarter alone. Game highlights.
- March 6 and 25: The Rockets sweep the Toronto Raptors, including winning in Toronto for the first time since 2007. The Raptors hadn’t lost at home since January 3, so this was an all-around great win. Game highlights from the first matchup.
- March 29: Sure, LeBron didn’t play, but the Rockets once again had to overcome a big deficit to knock off the eventual champions in their building. After trailing by 20 early in the third quarter, the Rockets cut the lead to 13 heading to the fourth and won that frame 35-16. Game highlights.
- April 13: Houston had to win out in order to make the playoffs, and that’s exactly what they did over the course of their last three games. The Rockets struggled to beat bad teams last season, but they defeated the Lakers, Timberwolves, and Kings by a combined 79 points. You don’t want highlights from these games.
- April 21: The Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their first round matchup. James Harden hit the game winner despite the refs admitting that he pushed off. However, the refs also missed a call on Andre Iguodala on the previous possession that they admitted to so it all washes out. The story afterwards was how the bench didn’t react to Harden’s winner. In a season full of losses, even this win was treated like an L.
- May 26: The Rockets hire Mike D’Antoni. While some people thought it was a bad decision (almost every word is its own post bashing the hiring-love you BD), we at The Dream Shake were level-headed about the matter and decided to give MDA a chance. Just kidding. I hated it. You hated it. Everyone hated it. Read the comments on Ethan’s post. It’s hilarious now. We’re all eating crow.
- July 9: The Rockets signed Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon. While Ryno is making more money, EG has been a revelation on a different level and should be the favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year. Both allow the Rockets to spread the floor and let Harden run the show to the best of his ability. Those decisions weren’t loved by most fans, but they weren’t hated on the same level as the D’Antoni hire. Also, I’m too lazy to find a ton of articles bashing those signings.
- December 1: The Rockets were 11-7. They had some nice wins (including in San Antonio), but nothing screamed “Top 4 team in the West” about this squad. Then they went into Golden State and beat a fully health Warriors squad in double overtime. Warriors-Cavs is the new flavor of the week, but in my biased opinion the Houston-Golden State matchup has been the best game of the season. The win slingshot the Rockets into a 10-game winning streak, including demolishing the Denver Nuggets in their building the very next night, close wins over the Celtics and Thunder, plus a crazy late comeback against the Minnesota Timberwolves in frigid Minneapolis. Game highlights from the Warriors game.
- All year: All of you crazy TDSers. Through your comments, posts, and interactions, you’re what make this site the fantastic place it is. Thank you for your support, and I cannot wait to see what awesome stuff you guys have to say about this team in the next year. May 2017 provide us with many more slashes on Chrive’s chart. I love you all.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT.