The Rockets played valiantly for the first three quarters of Wednesday’s match-up against the Dallas Mavericks and garnered a 84-78 lead, however NBA basketball has four quarters and the Mavericks took full advantage of the final period.
The proverbial fat lady sung on Houston’s season after Dallas pulled off a 39 point fourth quarter and thrust Houston into the 10th place in the Western Conference behind the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz.
Dallas rode Dirk Nowitski’s 35 points to a 117-110 victory. It was Houston’s fifth consecutive loss.
Houston is no longer in control of its own destiny. The Rockets must win all four of its remaining games and hope both Utah and Phoenix lose a game. That scenario is very possible, but not one you wanna find yourself in towards the end of the season.
Houston’s schedule still includes New Orleans tonight, Golden State on Saturday, Miami on Sunday and finishing up with New Orleans again on Thursday.
Houston could sweep the final four games because New Orleans and Golden State are beatable. Even though the Heat are hard to beat at home, Miami will probably have nothing to play for. Houston should beat Miami’s third team. If not, the team does not deserve to make the playoffs.
Utah faces Phoenix in a pseudo-elimination game on Monday. The loser, for all intents and purposes, will see their playoff chances fade away.
If Utah wins against Phoenix, they are your likely eighth seed because their other two games are against Portland and the embattled Orlando Magic.
The Rockets seemed again destined for a lottery pick. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.
A first-round drubbing by Oklahoma City or San Antonio Spurs does nothing for the team. It does not build chemistry. It just breeds more mediocrity.
The lottery is at least hope.