I have written a depressingly high number of posts this year under the general guise of "if the Rockets win tonight they could turn it around!" I did it here, here, here, here and here, JUST SINCE THE ALL-STAR BREAK. I am a broken record.
But, as Darren so eloquently pointed out today, the Rockets' recent stretch of play is different. First of all, some semblance of a rotation has manifested, and Terrence Jones and Josh Smith (not to mention Ty Lawson and Marcus Thornton) are mercifully not in it. And, no matter what happens tonight, no one can take the Rockets' excellent wins on the road against the Raptors and Celtics away from them.
And yet, tonight, on national television against the Clippers, will be different. It can be a statement game. The Rockets are still capable of missing the playoffs, but they seem pretty assured of getting in. How far they go will be determined by games like this: against high-quality opponents, in high-pressure atmosphere. For maybe the first time since November, I'm legitimately looking forward to a big game tonight.