Rockets Got Routed By the Spurs — But This Season Was A Win

39 point loss. Woof. No one but the Devil imagined Game 6 in Toyota Center would be the Kawhi-less Spurs ripping the hearts out of Clutch City and making us choke on it. Humble Pie has a flexible recipe.

These players are human beings. Junk happens. Struggles happen. Humans are like that. Making millions of dollars to throw a leather ball through a peach basket doesn’t remove the unpredictableness of being a human. Harden is still an MVP-caliber baller. D’antoni is still worthy of Coach of the Year. Humanity happens. D’antoni and Harden have a good relationship. They will have some great talks over the summer. The team will come back better.

I still love this team. I still love Harden.

Improvements are needed. No doubt. Capela will keep growing. Beverley was an animal. We need an upgrade behind Ariza. Will Dekker be enough? Will Nene be back? I know this: Morey, one of the best GMs in the NBA, and the front office is already at work for next season.

While the season fish-tailed into Popovich, the charred remains are worth picking through and remembering. On the whole, the season was a win. The narrative of the rehabbed and retooled Rockets is still a thumbs-up.

Reality check: The Warriors exist. It would have been a blast to watch the Rockets and Dubs go at it — but, honestly, we all know the outcome. The Warriors and Cavs are barreling toward each other. Just because the Rockets didn’t get the chance to get pile-drived by the USA team wearing Warriors jerseys in the Western Conference Finals, it doesn’t mean this season was an L.

Red Nation, take comfort in these truths:

1.The Rockets Repaired Their Image

Last year, at 41–41 and filled with dysfunction, they were a joke around the league. But their success this year changed their appearance. Having the 3rd best regular season record in the NBA was totally unexpected. Totally. Most people thought the Rockets would be the 8th seed or they’d miss the playoffs altogether. They had a great season. Win.

2.This is the First Year of a Retool

This season is filled with firsts. First year with D’antoni and the coaching staff, first year with Harden at point guard, first year with Capela as a starter, first year with key players (Anderson, Gordon, Williams, Nene). This is a whole new crew, and instead of it rounding the toilet bowl all year, they were a top-tier team. This many firsts could have been a disaster. It wasn’t. Losing to the second best team — and the greatest coach of all time — in the second round isn’t a complete failure.

3.Better Image Will Lead to a Better Team

With a rehabbed image, watch for the ability to add another All Star to the team. Harden’s ability to create for his teammates, him leading the league in assists, D’antoni, the quality of the Rockets organization — these are all positives in free agency. Houston is a destination once again. Win.

There’s still a lot to cling to. Good things.

We aren’t Bandwagon Nation. Press on, Red Nation.

This season was a blast; one of the most delightful seasons the Rockets have had in a long, long, long time. That’s a win too. Basketball is a great game. Let’s enjoy the game. Enjoy watching Harden and these Rockets while we can. See ya next season. I’m already looking forward to it.