Two of the last four NBA titles have gone to Texas (Mavs, 2011 and Spurs, 2014). They play great basketball in the Lone Star state — where three historically successful teams vie for supremacy. So it’s hard to believe that in beating the Mavs, the Houston Rockets just won only their second playoff series in 18 years.
It may not be the last. This Rockets team looks suddenly solid — not the one-man James (Harden) Gang it sometimes seemed in the regular season. Dallas, despite depleting injuries and the Rondo circus, had plenty of talent and yet they just couldn’t hang with Houston. Something to do, maybe, with stat lines like this from Dwight Howard: 18 points, 19 rebounds, four blocks and four steals. Harden had 28 points and eight assists. And even his defense was notable. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of the Rockets: “They’re legit. They’ve got a great chance at the whole thing.”