Late in the third quarter of last night’s game at Staples Center, the Rockets looked about as dead as any team has been in these playoffs. They’d been outscored 23-to-6 by the Clippers in the quarter and fallen behind by 19; they weren’t defending or working for good looks on offense and looked pretty much cool with their season being over. I went to bed. It was around one in the morning and I have to chaperone a preschool field trip today, Okay?
This morning the internet tells me the Rockets not only won, but did so by a healthy 12-point margin. The internet says they scored 40 points in the fourth quarter! The internet says they trailed by 12 with 7:30 left to play and then outscored the Clippers fucking 31-7 the rest of the way! The internet says they did this without James Harden logging so much as a single second of burn; that Corey Brewer and Josh Smith went nuts; that Jason Terry played like a living person and not a dead one; that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford went a combined 2-for-16 in the quarter! The internet even has highlights that seem to confirm that this really happened:
This is bananas. What in the damn hell is going on in the world today?
I see two possibilities, here. The first is that I slipped through a rip in the fabric of space-time without noticing on my way to bed last night, and woke in an alternate universe. In this universe, the Rockets are not the hare-brained bunch of doofuses we’ve all known them to be, who never in a million years could muster the attention-span to even know what the score is, much less mount a season-saving comeback on the road. In this universe they are tough and cohesive and, I dunno, were toying with the Clippers during the third quarter, or something. The second possibility is that the internet is broken. Frankly this seems the less likely of the two, but I restarted my router just in case.
What’s that you say? That without James Harden on the floor, the Rockets moved the ball and defended instead of watching him try to muster a 20-pointer on every trip up the floor? That after carrying the Clippers all night, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin ran out of gas and turned into statues? That Griffin in particular spent the fourth quarter defending like a dosed Kevin Love? That it happened for understandable basketball reasons and not because of weird sci-fi shit?
Nah. Not possible. Help me back to my home universe, lizard people. Or at least explain how basketball works in this one, because I am frightened and disoriented.
Photo via Getty