After two devastating home losses against the upstart Portland Trail Blazers, the Houston Rockets could have folded up the tent and began to plot their return to form next season. After all, most NBA pundits thought the Rockets would be chopped liver heading into Rip City following their home-court meltdown.
Instead, the Rockets rallied around each other and showed the Blazers what Rocket basketball is all about. It’s all about playing their best when their backs are against the wall. It’s about downing the naysayers. It’s about being clutch when clutch is needed. This is what Rockets basketball is all about.
The Rockets’ performance on Friday night was reminiscent of the 1995 Rockets, when Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler led the sixth-seeded Rockets to their second straight NBA title by stunning every favored team in the Western Conference. Pundits back then said that there was no way the Rockets would win a title, but listening to what the outside world has to say is not Rockets basketball. Instead, it is about showing up the naysayers and doing things their way.
That is how the Rockets performed in Portland on Friday night. Houston regained the home-court advantage and pulled within one game of tying the series by doing what the Rockets does best: playing their best when their backs are against the wall. The Rockets showed Portland and the basketball world what “clutch city” is all about.