Just a stunning, incredible win for the Rockets.
Talking to various media members before Houston’s Friday night tilt with Phoenix, absolutely NO ONE gave the Rockets a chance to win. For my part, I even made a friendly wager with a Rockets superfan that Houston would lose by more than 15.
By now you know the result: Rockets 101 – Phoenix 90.
Since I obviously know nothing about the game of basketball, I’ll hand the rest of this mini-column over to a couple guys who do: Two-time MVP Steve Nash, and his teammate Raja Bell.
I asked Nash for his evaluation of this Rockets team—a squad which rarely gets mentioned when it comes to the Western Conference playoff race, unless it’s to deem them this year’s winners of the always coveted “Team everyone secretly hopes to play in round one.”
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His response: “I think that plays right into their hands. They have an underrated squad that knows they’ve gotta play their butts off to be good. They know they gotta play together to be good, and they use their intelligence, and hustle, and athleticism to really sneak up on people.
“I don’t know why people keep saying that [the Rockets are the team everyone wants to play in the first round]. They won 22 in a row. They’ve won 19 of the last 20 at home. They’re a good team. No matter what names are on the jerseys, or accomplishments they have collectively, they’re smart, they play hard, and they’re winners… It’s a simple formula. It’s good to see. It’s good for basketball.”
Raja Bell essentially echoed that sentiment, just with fewer words: “If you underestimate them, you’re stupid.”
Then it’s settled. Just call me stupid. - Jason Friedman