Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The NBA this season has been called a “two-team league”. The Cavaliers are the wide favorite in the Eastern Conference and likewise, the Warriors in the West. Also, the league’s three biggest markets have teams with losing records.
The Lakers have lost their way between a rookie head coach and tough injuries. The Bulls are caught amidst teammate drama and an underwhelming Dwayne Wade homecoming. And finally, the Knicks have been an exceptional disappointment in spite of their gaudy offseason acquisitions.
Some of the biggest brands in basketball have also been the largest let downs. So when looking at this two-team NBA season, fans can only turn to a handful of teams to upset the established order. The Spurs will have their chance, but so will the Rockets.
San Antonio will always compete when they have the leadership of Head Coach Gregg Popovich. The Rockets on the under hand still have a lot to prove. Their roster strength has grown over the course of the season with the breakout shooting from potential 6th Man of the Year, Eric Gordon.
Overall, there have been plenty of pleasant surprises for the Rockets’ performance this year. They will need more of that, especially from Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. This track record has not been good in the postseason.
His last three appearances in the playoffs have ended early with a first round exit. D’Antoni has also lost in the Western Conference Finals twice, in back to back seasons. If he can also have a breakout season just as his team is, the Rockets are set to give the NBA playoffs a fresh look.
Without a Houston playoff surprise in the Western Conference, Golden State will have their NBA finals rematch. The Spurs could also make a difference, but it is still a story we have heard before. Cleveland does not have much competition in the Eastern Conference to interrupt a Finals repeat, and it seems like destiny to see the Cavaliers and Warriors yet again.
A career and MVP season from James Harden seriously boosts the Rockets’ chances to make a push. It seems like the entire Houston team has something to prove. Their opportunity will come and it could be one of the best series in playoff history.