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Monday, March 17, 2008

Don’t count Rockets out

As the Houston Rockets’ winning streak gets longer, so does the list of naysayers who say they can’t win it all this year.

Jeff Van Gundy, who preceded Rick Adelman as Houston’s head coach, said Sunday the Rockets couldn’t win an NBA title this year without Yao because of the grind of the playoffs.

But Jeff, they’ve done well under the grind of a playoff-like atmosphere, haven’t they? Like in the playoffs, the Rockets get the opposing team’s best shot every night. Each team wants to be the one to end the streak.

“Will this team win the West?” asked ESPN’s Jalen Rose. “No, because the regular season is about health, chemistry, and the discipline to get it done over an 82-game schedule. The playoffs is about matchups and four-out-of-sevens. And I don’t think they can match up very well with a handful of teams.”

But Jalen, they’ve adjusted pretty well over the last 22 games, with and WITHOUT Yao Ming, haven’t they?

There’s something extraordinary about a team that can win 22 straight games – no matter whom or where they play. Only once in the history of the NBA has a team won more consecutive games than the Rockets.

And now, few give the Rockets a chance of even winning the Western Conference, which they lead after knocking off the West’s previous No. 1 team, the Los Angeles Lakers, on Sunday.

After all the Rockets have accomplished this season, I’m not about to write them off. Never underestimate the role of confidence; I’ve talked to these players, and they genuinely believe they can win each time they walk onto the court.

And over the last 22 games, who could argue with them?


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