Rockets Bound for Finals

After physically dominating the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round, then advancing to face the Utah Jazz in the first and second rounds of the playoffs last year, the #1 seeded Houston Rockets were unfortunately eliminated by the predictable Golden State Warriors. If they had advanced and played Lebron James, it would have been the Rockets first finals appearance since Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon and “Clyde The Glide” Drexler went back to back in 1995 and 1996. Near and dear to my heart, I view the Rockets as the most potent, showstopping basketball team to ever grace the lustrous NBA. However, they do have our flaws like every great team. This season I expect the same if not more from the Rockets. And after three games in the youthful 2019 season, I conclude the Rockets will once again stand supreme.

The Rockets have looked a bit sluggish, but with new additions like 10x NBA All Star Carmelo Anthony and former first round pick, Michael Carter-Williams, I give the lineup at least a month into the season to work out chemistry issues. Moving guys around like P.J Tucker at power forward and the German Giant, Isaiah Hartenstein, will mold together a solid defense, that allowed 12 offensive rebounds, most of which came in a crucial stretch late in the Clippers game in which the Rockets failed to seal a late quarter comeback. James Ennis is no Deandre Jordan, who the Rockets tried to lure in free agency but eventually lost the bidding to our I-45 rival the Dallas Mavericks, but Ennis provides an arsenal that can be built upon. Ennis has proven that he has ice in his veins, like his counterparts, by draining at least two, 3 pointers in his first three games.

If the Rockets can convert on more of their charity strike chances, which currently sits at 21st in the association and keep playing inspired defense, and not slug off (Harden), we could easily be in contention for the finals.

Powerhouse Veterans, James Harden and Chris Paul look to lead a championship push with their aggressive play making. A tag team so lethal and glamorous, they rank with Hans Solo and Chewbacca as the greatest duo ever. Both possess a jump shot as smooth as a glazed doughnut and both have ankle breaking abilities that send defenders straight to the chiropractor. But, like Bonnie and Clyde, one cannot function without the other. By scoring 106 points on 100 possessions, the two complement each other as they run their unique ISO style of play.

By running ISO ball and slowing down the pace of the game, all the other pieces should fall in line. The Rockets have all the same variety of pieces and familiar faces, excluding the departed Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Rockets were a hamstring away from the finals and I expect the top dogs of the west to be back on their iron throne and win the Western Conference.

With grit and determination, I predict the Rockets will finish 67-15 and be rewarded with the 1st seed in the conference yet again, this year by defeating the overly hyped Warriors and then advance to face the Boston Celtics in the Finals, with the Rockets winning by four games to two.