The Rockets find themselves in the advantageous position of having closed out their first-round series days ahead of whoever they’ll eventually meet in the second round, giving them a head-start on preparations for the series to come. It would be reasonable, under the circumstances, to tilt the balance of that prep work toward the Golden State Warriors, who have a 3–2 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers and are just insanely, unreasonably loaded with star talent.
The Rockets appear to have made that same calculation, and then taken it to the furthest extreme—they have all but purchased real estate in Oakland in anticipation of meeting the top-seeded Warriors at Oracle a few days from now:
“Rockets intend no disrespect to Clippers” is a pretty funny little apology for relocating your entire basketball operation to another city based on nothing more than the expectation that the Clippers will lose and be eliminated. This manages to be both a statement about how terrified the Rockets are of the Warriors and how not at all worried they are about the Clippers. And they’re probably not wrong! But it is now definitely true that the best possible course of events has the Clippers upsetting the Warriors and then punking the shit out of the bizarrely road-weary and overconfident Rockets in the second round.