The Rockets already knew this was going to be a big game. They knew it before they made deals with the two teams that were and are currently ahead of the Rockets in the standings. The Rockets traded Aaron Brooks to the Suns in exchange for third-year point guard Goran Dragic, the same day, sending fan favorite Shane Battier packing for Memphis for a couple of former 2009 first-round picks, Hasheem Thabeet and DeMarre Carroll.
There was no way to tell how things may transpire, and there still isn’t with 17 games remaining on the Rockets schedule. Prior to the February 24th trade deadline, the Rockets had lost three of four at home, the frustration was building with each game as Aaron Brooks continued to struggle with his shot, ending his tenure as a rocket with the worst shooting slump of his young career. A change was looming, and while Rocket fans could only speculate, the writing may have been on the wall for Brooks.
Since the trade, Brooks, he’s begun to settle into the backup role behind future Hall of Famer, Steve Nash nicely, finding his shot and playing much more patient in understanding his role on his new team.
For Kyle Lowry, he’s grown into the point guard the Rockets always thought he could be, helping the team win five of their last six, including last night’s 123-101 victory in Sacramento. Seeing Aaron in a different uniform tonight may be awkward for Lowry, but seeing him just the same will be nice for the Rocket point guard.
“It’s always good to see a friend, me and him had a friendship beyond basketball” Lowry said. “I look forward to seeing him, we’ll probably go out to dinner with him and hang out with him.”
Before dinner, Lowry and the Rockets must take care of business, as Houston has not received the help on a nightly basis from Portland or Memphis, two teams ahead of the Rockets in the standings. Every game from here on out turns into a must win, and the Rockets know they’ll have to go through the valley of the sun to get where they ultimately want to be at season’s end. In the playoffs. “We can’t control what other teams do, we’ve got to control what we can do, we’ve got to win games” Lowry said. The rockets understand they don’t control their own destiny, but still can’t afford to wait for other teams to fall off, rather, taking care of their own business is priority number one.
Playing against a former teammate, is nothing new for Rockets back up Courtney Lee, as he’s had his share of bags to pack during the first three years of his young career. “It’s gonna be like practice, we’re going to be out there competing” Lee said. It’s not going to be friendly, it’ll be friendly after the game.”
Shaun Bijani can heard with Barry Warner on The Odd Couple show, Monday through Friday from 7 to 11 p.m.