The Houston Rockets can win a championship this season.
I’ve written that about many Western Conference teams, but it seems true for so many. With the right breaks, the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, Warriors and maybe even Trail Blazers could win a title.
But losing Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley in the same game – that’s obviously not the break Houston needs. Is that what happened in Thursday’s win over the 76ers?
Howard, via Adam Wexler of CSN Houston:
“My ankle was bothering me tonight, I came out a little early in the third quarter because of it,” Howard said after the game. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. I don’t want to sit out, but the most important thing is that I’m ready for the playoffs.”
Starting point guard Pat Beverley was also injured in the game and his availability for Saturday’s game against the Clippers is uncertain. With just 28 seconds gone in the second quarter, Houston was forced to call timeout because Beverley was hurt. He walking gingerly to the Rockets bench momentarily before heading to the team’s locker room before play resumed. He did not return to the game. Houston called it a right knee sprain and Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said he would get an MRI on it Friday.
“It kind of one of those ones where he tweaked it and didn’t quite know exactly what happened,” McHale said. “Don’t know (if it’s serious), he’ll have an MRI tomorrow.”
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
The Rockets can get along without Beverley. As far as backup point guards go, Jeremy Lin is definitely capable of starting. Losing Beverley would have gone better last month – before Houston traded Aaron Brooks, who could have stepped into the rotation – but the Rockets are still relatively well-equipped to handle it.
Losing Howard would prove much more costly. The Rockets have been worse on both sides of the court when he sits this season, as you’d expect from an All-NBA-caliber player. On the bright side, his decision to leave the game sounds much more precautionary.
Can the Rockets win a championship this season? A lot hinges on Beverley’s MRI and whether Howard’s issue is as minor as it sounds.