To Live And Die In LA ……… Could This Be The Fate Awaiting The Houston Rockets ?
Well the conference semi finals are set within both Conferences of the NBA. In the East you’ll have the Boston Celtics facing off against the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers meeting the Atlanta Hawks. And in the West you’ll have the Houston Rockets facing the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks facing the Denver Nuggets.
Well for Houston who are without their All Star guard Tracy McGrady for the entire postseason. The task that awaits them isn’t viewed as an enviable one. The Lakers for their part are viewed as the overwhelming favorites to come out of the East and win it all.
Though it can be said that the likes of the Cavaliers and Celtics may well view it all with some skepticism. If than for nothing else they feel that they’re equal to the task of knocking off the Lakers. The postseason thus far has been an intriguing one. And to my mind the series between the Bulls and Celtics may well rate as one of the most exhilarating and entertaining series to have been played in an NBA postseason in some years. If any sport needed a series to enhance its reputation then the spectacle put on by both teams during that series served the NBA well. I’d dare say it may well have brought them also a new legion of fans. Chances are however that we may not see the likes of this again , this postseason. And even if the consensus is that we’re liable to see both Bryant of the Lakers and James of the Cavaliers facing off against one another. Are we liable to see the sort of play we’d all witnessed in that particular series ?
As for the Rockets their first round opponents the Portland Trailblazers provided a stern enough test for the Rick Adelman coached team. But based on what we all witnessed the inexperience shown by the Trailblazers led to their eventual downfall. One doubts that the Rockets are liable to be that lucky when they face the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s as if this Bryant led team are on a mission to redeem themselves from last season’s appearance and failure in the Finals. Where they succumbed to a far more experienced and disciplined team in the Boston Celtics. Revenge they say is a dish best served up cold. And at that this juncture for the Lakers that is the redemption they seek. And if they should meet the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Then it is there where they’ll seek to account for last season’s mistakes. But that offcourse is predicated on the supposition that they do indeed make it to the Finals. As nothing is ever etched in stone when it comes to issues of sporting chance.
Houston though viewed as the underdogs in this match up . They’ll no doubt be looking to perhaps sneak a win in Los Angeles looking to split the pair of games to be initially played at the Staples Center. It may well happen but in front of that raucous crowd celebrity laden fans . I seriously doubt that will happen. What the Rockets need and must do throughout this series if they’re to stand a chance of prevailing at all. They’re going to have to defend stoutly and at the same time keep Kobe Bryant in check. You’ll note that I’ve stated that they’d have to defend stoutly and keep Bryant check. The latter of those two tasks may appear to be almost impossible. But if there’s a team capable of doing that then it may well be Houston Rockets.
In Ron Artest and Shane Battier they may well have two of the best defensive minded players in the league when their game is completely on. But it’s no small task to try to defend an offensive presence who is as explosive and creative as they come. And the contributions on this Rockets team has to be one that’ll also complement the play of Yao Ming also on the offensive side of the ball. So one would expect the likes of Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola as well as Artest to step up and provide that much needed assistance. Yao Ming for his part has got to prove once and for all that he’s capable playing not just one but putting together a string of big games in the postseason. If he can’t do that then the fortunes of the Rockets won’t at all be bright. In all likelihood if there aren’t significant contribution from Yao Ming , Brooks and Artest. Then the Houston Rockets could be swept in the conference semi-finals with abundant ease by the Los Angeles Lakers.
While we can all appreciate the significance of this postseason. It shouldn’t be lost upon us all as to the fact that a number of franchises across the league are now undergoing some severe financial strains. Though it has to be said that the NBA hierarchy though not oblivious to that fact. They’ve done very little to reach out to the fans , other than to suggest that things must go on as usual. Somehow I think that Commissioner David Stern does infact feel that the NBA fans are the most naïve of all the fans within the four major professional sports.
Rarely does he speak openly about many of the real issues that the sport faces. And when he chooses to , all too often it’s as if the wants to paint a rosy picture as to what’s happening within the game. Perhaps he for one can openly explain to us how the fan can expect comprehend that a number of franchises around the league are being assisted by way of a bailout to the tune of some $200m ? When the most ardent of fans are struggling and at the same time how best to spend what little disposable income they have as far for meaningful entertainment. Ticket prices continue to go up for one reason or another. But yet the explanation as to their own self inflicted woes at the time continue to remain the same.
Stern as ever remains the consummate politician ruling over his fiefdom as only he can. For the rest of us it’s not as easy as it appears to be as he continue as if these are not entirely the most difficult set of circumstances to be under.
What remains of this NBA postseason will count for a great deal as to how the fans continue to view the sport as a whole. The support will continue to be there in one form or another. But what may well change could very well the emotional and financial outlay of the fan for some time into the future. The game itself is a thing of emotion and excitement. But it’s meaningless without the support of the fans. And that’s something that the game’s hierarchy and players should well remember at this juncture. ——————————————————————————–