The San Antonio Spurs move on to the Western conference finals in style, even without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker in game 6. The Houston Rockets? The memes making fun of them and James Harden for their awful choke-job of an effort tell the story better than the numbers.
The Rockets lost by 39 points at home in an elimination game. Harden scored just 10 points, fouled out, and looked as bad as anyone has ever seen him. The theories revolving around his mysteriously awful performance go from him partying all night long the day before to playing with an injury, perhaps even a concussion. Harden, on the other hand, spoke about never finding rhythm, and taking responsibility for the embarrassing loss.
Harden did get a standing ovation after fouling out from the Rockets fans that did remain in the building when the game was winding down. He did have a remarkable season. So did Mike D’Antoni, in a terrific comeback effort to the NBA, that ended in yet another playoff disappointment when facing Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs move on to play the superior and favorites Golden State Warriors, knowing LaMarcus Aldridge is alive and well, while Patty Mills, Jonathon Simmons and even Dejounte Murray can play big roles if asked to. Kawhi Leonard will return, and if Popovich can somehow adjust his dominance to allow the others get into a rhythm, maybe they have a shot at making the finals, against all odds.