It’s been a slow descent to disinterest for me.
I attended the Rockets double overtime win over the Warriors in Oakland in December. Howling in disgust from the upper deck as Draymond Green kicked James Harden in the face.
I was glued to the TV for Houston’s 108 - 125 loss to Steph Curry and crew in January.
I kept an eye on this week’s seven point loss to Golden State. Lucky to be at a bar with side-by-side TVs allowing me to intimately watch the US Soccer team’s crucial 1-1 tie in Panama City.
And today I just can’t get worked up for the Rockets-Warriors game.
The Warriors created the distance they need to keep the number one seed in the Western Conference, which is where you’d want them to be if you’re a Rockets fan. If you have to play the Warriors in the playoffs you want it to be in the Western Conference Finals, after they’ve been worn by previous rounds and teams (Houston served that roll last year).
Playoff seeding is virtually locked in for Houston so the outcome of the contest has little consequence. With only eight games and a five game lead over the Utah Jazz something very strange would have to happen for the Rockets to fall to the fourth seed.
With Ryan Anderson out injured and James Harden nursing a wrist injury I just want the team to be healthy for the playoffs. I understand the desire to beat the best team in the league every time you play them, but I worry more about Houston getting tired legs and jump shots coming up short when the ball is rolled out for the second round of the playoffs.
And the Rockets played the Warriors well this week. They looked bad for long stretches but overcame large deficits to finish with a final score of 106 - 113. This was despite the Rockets shooting 5 - 31 from three.
Sure they got chased off the three point line a ton by Golden State’s perimeter defense. But 31 attempts is startling, paltry even. And I wouldn’t expect the Rockets to put up just 31 attempts in a playoff game. This hoist-problem was 9.4 attempts less than the Rockets have averaged this season (40.4 attempts per game).
And even worse than the low attempt count is that they only shot 16% from three in that game. That’s an atrocious stat for a Rockets offense that makes 14.4 threes a game at a 36% clip. They were 20 points below average.
I feel secure in those numbers. Knowing the Rockets top secret plan to beat the Warriors in the playoffs is to launch 50 or more threes I rest easy knowing they lost to Golden State by 7 points while only putting up 31 threes and only making 5 of them.
So you just can’t get me excited about today’s game. There’s no playoff implications for this game. I feel good about how Houston has played Golden State so far this year. And I really just want James Harden’s wrist to be at 100% for the playoffs.
This all being said. I’m in the Bay Area and checking StubHub every 30 minutes.