The Rockets, Joining The Pantheon Of Those Who Gave Up Surprising Momentum

Hey, how'd those Rockets do last night?!


In case you missed it, Our Rockets (and by "Our," we mean "team we started cheering for a week ago"), got shellacked by the Lakers 118-78. Everyone had expected the injury-riddled Houston team to lose like that -- in Sunday's game, which they had won.

That Sunday victory immediately and inexplicably raised the hopes of Rockets fans that this was a Team of Destiny, who could then go on to finish the the job of upsetting the best team in the west in the seven-game series.

Instead, it looks like the Rockets will join several other entities who took surprising leads in contests and then saw reality seep in:

5. The Mexican Army at San Jacinto. Coming off a big victory at the Alamo, the opportunity to just about close things out....and then they relax. Sure, Von Wafer didn't exactly get caught sleeping with a whore nicknamed the "Yellow Rose of Texas" when the game began, but Santa Anna put up more of a fight than the Rockets did last night.

4. Every James Bond Villain In The Good Old Days. The Rockets
had the Lakers right where they wanted them -- reeling, embarrassed,
unsure of themselves -- and then, instead of pushing the damn button to
start the torture machine and begin the coup de grace, they pulled the equivalent of giving a 20-minute speech detailing their plans for world domination.

3. The USSR in the Space Race. They send up Sputnik. They send
up the first animal in space. The first man. The first woman, for
crying out loud, while America is sitting there blowing up Atlas
rockets on Cape Canaveral launch pads. In a lot of ways the USSR was a
backwards country without many of the modern-day conveniences enjoyed
by its rivals (such as superstars like T-Mac and Yao Ming), but they
still came up with victories. And then they sat back and watched while
those celebrity-obsessed, overpaid, hyped-up glamor boys they were
battling walked all over them.

2. Rocky. No one expected him to win against the sleek, loud,
celebrated opponent he faced. But he became the spunky underdog the crowd grew
to love and....then he lost. (We're talking about the first Rocky movie, not the dreck that followed.)

1. John McCain. He stole some surprising wins -- the GOP
nomination, those halcyon few days between his nominating Sarah Palin and
people looking into Sarah Palin's record and grasp of
essential issues -- that filled his followers with "Could it be? Just
maybe!" surges of hope. But everyone knew who was going to walk away
with this one, and it wasn't going to be the scrappy, injured warhorse
fighting against the odds, no matter what the few brief shining moments
seemed to indicate. It was going to be...well, the LA Lakers of
presidential politics, Barack Obama.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly