Everything is falling into place for the Rockets. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like the Rockets were out of the hunt in catching Utah for home court advantage.
But then Utah lost 5 games in a row. Then Houston rebounded from a 3-game losing streak to win 3 on the road, plus beat the Hornets last night for their 4th win in a row.
Then today the Spurs lost to the Mavericks in Dallas. Now there is no way the Spurs can catch the Phoenix Suns for the 2nd seed in the Western Conference playoffs. So the Suns really don’t have much to play for. They are locked in at #2.
So when the Suns come into Houston on Monday night, hopefully they will rest alot of their big guns (just like the Mavericks have been doing this past week) and lay down for the Rockets so Houston can gain home court advantage against Utah in their playoff series. Houston only needs one win (or one Utah loss) to win home court against the Jazz.
It’s ironic the Mavericks won on Sunday since they could have done the Rockets a favor a few days ago if they had just beaten the Jazz in Dallas, but they lost partly because they didn’t play many of their key players. So I guess it was difficult for the Mavericks to lay down two games in a row. At least they have some morals. They played to win Sunday afternoon against the Spurs, and they pulled through.
But it’s amazing that it took a strange ejection of Tim Duncan in the second half to give the Mavericks an even better chance of beating the Spurs. I was watching it on ABC, and I had never seen a player get ejected by getting two technical fouls while sitting on the bench. I think Duncan got a raw deal. While getting some rest on the bench, Duncan obviously did something referee Joey Crawford didn’t like, resulting in his first tech. With the smile he had on his face, Duncan looked like a school kid caught muttering something behind the teacher’s back.
After that, the cameras were focused on Duncan to see if any additional drama would unfold. It did. A couple of possessions later, Duncan started laughing at something that happened on the court, perhaps a foul that was called by Crawford on another player. Well, Crawford thought Duncan’s laughter was taking it too far in that he was trying to upstage him, so Crawford ejected him. Unbelievable.
With that, the Spurs lost a very potent weapon down the stretch in game that ended 91-86, Mavericks. I guess with all the bad calls against Yao this season, maybe it some strange way Duncan’s strange ejection made things a bit more even for the Rockets.
Finally, the Rockets and the rest of the Western Conference might be catching another break because the Golden State Warriors won their game against Minnesota today, while the LA Clippers lost at home to Sacramento today. That gives the Warriors a one-game advantage over the Clippers with only two games to play.
How does that help the Rockets and the Western Conference? Because the Warriors have been giving Dallas all kinds of trouble this season, and you can’t help but think that Don Nelson has a few tricks up his sleeve on how to beat his old team.
At minimum, the chances are good the Warriors will tire the Mavericks, and maybe even upset them. That could make the road to the Western Conference finals that much easier for Phoenix, San Antonio, and Houston.