The Houston Rockets suffered the worst possible outcome on Wednesday night, losing 99-95 in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers on the final night of the regular season and dropping Houston down to the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference.
A poor end to April saw the Rockets lose three of four games, including a weak loss to the lowly Phoenix Suns, which meant the team’s dream scenario that would have seen Houston steal the sixth seed from the Golden State Warriors and play the depleted Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs, flew out of the window.
A chance to face an old and weathered second seed San Antonio Spurs remained an option for the Rockets heading into the Lakers match-up, but the heart wrenching loss has likely eliminated the remote possibility that Houston will be able to compete in the first round of the playoffs now that last year’s NBA finalists, the Oklahoma City Thunder, loom as the dreaded opponent.
The Rockets managed just 45 points in the second half and overtime combined and a lucky 26-foot three-point heave from Chandler Parsons helped the game last a little longer than it should have.
Rockets fans have the right to be disappointed, as a prime opportunity for rare playoff success slipped through the team’s hands. Now instead of having a realistic chance against either Denver or San Antonio in round one, they’ll be forced to watch Houston battle it out with a far superior team while the likes of the Lakers and Warriors have their chances at upsets.