Houston vs. Golden State
What a rollercoaster ride for the Rockets. Many people think the Clippers lost that series. I don’t disagree (more on them later). But don’t understate how well the Rockets played in the last three games. They finally began to understand that playoff basketball requires effort, determination, and focus on each defensive possession. Their execution from a coaching and playing standpoing on that side of the ball changed the nature of the series. Sure, the Clippers were up big in Game 6 and should have won that – but the Rockets were still executing their defense. That defense sprang leaks as the Clippers got out in transition, but so will any defense. They key is they stuck with it and got the stops they needed to in the 4th quarter. I killed Josh Smith earlier in the series for loafing on defense when it didn’t involve his mark. His coming to play changed the complexion of the lineup – instead of the Rockets compensating for an iffy jump shooter with a questionable motor, he was an iffy jump shooter that provided valuable rebounding energy.