The Houston Rockets continue to prove that Basketball is a team game and not an individual game with a 95-80 shilacking of the Los Angeles Lakers. For too long the NBA has been putting so much emphasis on individual players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dywane Wade and so on and so forth, (mainly because it has been very profitable to do so) but basketball has always been a team game. There would have been no Jordan without Pippen, No Magic without Kareem and Worthy, No Akeem without the supporting cast, No Duncan without Robinson/Ginobili/Parker, the list goes on and on. In fact, it goes a lot further than that, there would be no title contender without a full supporting cast. The Playoffs this year are proving just the same, all the teams currently in contention require a complete team effort to win games – from the Magic, to the Cavs to the Houston Rockets. In crunch time only one thing matters and that is, “Who has the most heart”?
The NBA has been marketing this year’s tournament with the slogan, “Where Amazing Happens” but I think that the real theme this year should be “Who has the most heart?”. In the 2 Game 7 matchups coming up this Sunday the victor will without a doubt be the team with the most heart. Who wants it more and who is willing to go the extra mile for the win? It is not going to be about Kobe Bryant’s or Dwight Howard’s individual efforts as they try to will their respective teams into the Conference Finals, but it will come down to which team can put together a complete effort on Sunday. These matchups are a Coach’s dream.
The Rockets proved last night that they are ready and up to the task. Like Shane Battier alluded to, they have been battle tested and this team has responded to adversity over and over again. Now there is one more hill to climb. Rudy T. said it best when the Rockets won their 1st title with Olajuwon, “Never…Underestimate…The Heart of a Champion!!!”. Do not count the Rockets out on Sunday. The biggest thing they need now is to get enough sleep and rest before the Epic showdown with the Lakers. The winner will be the team who starts fast and never lets up.