Rockets All But Eliminated From Play-In After Falling Badly To Warriors

The Houston Rockets made a nice run toward the NBA play-in tournament, though it’s all but over now.

Fred VanVleet, NBA, Houston Rockets
(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houstout was blasted by the visiting Golden State Warriors by a 133-110 count on Thursday, bringing an almost-official end to the Rockets’ postseason dreams.

As relayed by Kendra Andrews of ESPN, the Rockets will need to go 6-0 and hope the Warriors go 1-5 to close the regular season. Or the Rockets could go 5-1, provided the Warriors don’t win again.

Granted, there’s no shame in not making the NBA postseason if you’re the Rockets. This year has been a major turnaround from last, when they finished a miserable 22-60. They’re 38-38 after Wednesday’s loss.

The additions of coach Ime Udoka, point guard Fred VanVleet and forward Dillon Brooks undoubtedly helped, as did the rise of guard Jalen Green, big man Alperen Sengun and several others who were already on the roster.

Green touched on that very subject earlier in the day.

“The main goal is to make the playoffs,” Green said, via Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “Either way it goes, growth is growth. We’ve gotten better as a team and we have the tools to do it.”

In other words, the Rockets are viewing this season as just the beginning. And you could tell they were an inexperienced team — or at least a team with inexperience together — against the Warriors, who tend to be at their best at this time of season. While the likes of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson may be on their last legs, they know what it means to win at this time of year.

So they went out and just took the game in Houston with a throwback performance.

The Warriors used to be known for doing that on a regular basis. Now, it’s more like once or twice a season. Unfortunately, for the Rockets, one of those times was Wednesday in front of their own crowd.

It’s a painful lesson, but one that would serve them well in the future. And from the looks of things, the future gives the Rockets something about which to be fairly excited.

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