The Houston Rockets Formula Was Anything But Efficient In Costing Them Game 7 In Embarrassing Fashion
Sixty five. Houston constructed a team that, despite being without one of his top two players for sizable stretches throughout the season, won 65 games to Rocket a top a conference that's also home to one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
For that reason, it feels weird to sit here listing off the predictable problems that ultimately concluded a playoff run that, on back-to-back occasions, was within 24 minutes of ending with them being favored in the NBA Finals. Alas, here we are, talking about a Mike D'Antoni-led team forcibly missing enough threes to defy Daryl Morey's arithmetic as their best player reverted to the playoff pushover he's proved himself to be in year's past.
If one were searching for an excuse for the Houston Rockets then the easy place to start would be with Chris Paul's unfortunate absence in Game 6 and Game 7, but it takes but one look at his past to realize that was only as unlucky as it was expected of a player whose proneness to injury is historically untimely. Not to put a damper on their hypothetical claim to a reward, but that's an obvious risk that the Rockets accepted when they traded for a 33 year old with damn near millions of miles on his tires...
Now, to be fair, the officiating was suspiciously one-sided towards an away team that sold more moving screens than Anderson Windows, but even the complete lack of ticky-tack calls that James Harden was unable to draw from three-point range highlighted just how disproportionally dependent his team can be on them at times. The deciding game of the Western Conference Final was an extremely, extremely weird time for the officials to start getting strict on what constitutes a shooting foul, but that fact alone doesn't explain one of best scorers in the NBA leading the way to yet another disappointed locker room in stacking eleven straight bricks of his own in helping his team compile 27 consecutive misses from deep...
You need not do anything more than simple addition to see that the Houston Rockets were clinging to the mildly flawed formula of an objectively un-clutch superstar, a fragile second option, and an inherently volatile offense. All three factors failed them in the worst possible way when it mattered the most, though it probably shouldn't be all that surprising that your math needs to be perfect to beat a team as talented as the Golden State Warriors, even when they are spending full halves looking hapless. Daryl Morey shouldn't need the help of Billy Crystal to Analyze That.