It had all been going so well for the Houston Rockets. They were making a solid playoff push in the hellacious Western Conference, undefeated for the past month. Under first-year skipper Rick Adelman and a still-stingy defense left over from Jeff Van Gundy, the Toyota Center was rocking from the opening tip to Rafer Alston’s dribbling out the clock. Houston’s win streak didn’t exactly catapult them up the ladder but it did solidify them as a team to contend with, especially in a season where the playoffs might end up looking like hockey’s: an utterly chaotic grind, no one safe, duck and cover. Even Tracy McGrady was getting his proper love. The cousin in Vince Carter’s grand and unnecessary shadow, McGrady is going on four years with his third team, and as option #1A on the Rockets, the 28 year old was hitting his prime in stride, piloting Houston to a 12th straight victory with a 110-97 dub over the Bulls. The very next day, according to the entirety of the voices covering the NBA, their beatdown of Chicago became the high point of the season.
See, that day franchise center and all-around tall man Yao Ming went down for the season. Read More