The Rockets played today’s game without James Harden and played relatively well for a team without their best player.
Russell Westbrook continued to carry the load with a team-high 32 points and Eric Gordon contributed 19 points while replacing Harden in the starting lineup.
While the Rockets played well and led for majority of the first half, the Nuggets’ onslaught was too much, headlined by Nikola Jokic’s triple-double and Jerami Grant’s season-high 27 points.
The game was tight in the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets pulled away for good with 9:49 to go and the Rockets simply couldn’t catch up.
The game did have a lot of weight on it with the Rockets moving from 5th to 6th in the West with the loss and the Nuggets moving from 4th to 3rd with a win. However, it all seemed very insignificant considering the news that broke right before tipoff that still has the basketball world in shock.
I can’t remember too many times when a celebrity’s death has made time stand still. Memories that come to mind include Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston’s deaths. I can remember the exact moment when I learned of their passing and the earthquake-like effect it had on masses of people.
Minutes before tipoff, I found myself frantically scrolling through Twitter trying to figure out exactly what happened and if this somewhat meaningless game would take place or not.
I won’t say whether or not the league should or should not have postponed today’s games, because I don’t exactly think there’s a right or wrong answer.
While I wouldn’t call myself a Kobe fan, I would definitely consider myself an admirer as someone who was a master of basketball.
When Kobe scored 81 points, I was seven years old and truly beginning to understand basketball and how it worked. But something I could not understand is how someone could score 81 points in a game!
While I wouldn’t say Kobe had a huge emotional impact on my love for basketball, he definitely had that on millions of people.
I think it is important to acknowledge today that an inspiration to millions around the world and an icon to the game of basketball passed away very tragically.
But more importantly, three sisters lost their sister and father. And a mother lost her husband and daughter.
The families of the seven others on the helicopter lost their loved ones as well.
And that makes today’s basketball game, and every other one before and after this such a small detail in what really matters at the end of the day.
Let this serve as a reminder of what is really important and how powerful the game of basketball, and any sport, can be.
Kobe Bryant is a legend, and today is proof of that.
But although legends may pass away, they never truly die.