By Matthew Curtis | Enzian Theater March 19, 2008 at 2:27AM
I'm sure my posting this will be the kiss of death for the Houston Rockets' ridiculous 22-game winning streak as they face the mighty Boston Celtics tonight, but you have to give major props for what they're doing these past few weeks. When Yao Ming went down for the season after the streak had reached 12, everyone figured that was that--no way Tracy McGrady and a bunch of no names could keep it going or make any noise in the playoffs. Still not sure what's going to happen in the post-season (and T-Mac is infamous for his teams never getting out of the first round), but the Rockets have been phenomenal in extending the streak at least 10 more games, making it the second longest in NBA history. And 5 of the top 6 winning streaks in league history have been accomplished by the eventual NBA champion.
Rick Adelman is coaching his ass off, the defense has been unbelievable, and even though McGrady's scoring is actually down, the role players like Rafer Alston and Shane Battier have stepped up bigtime. During the streak the team has never trailed entering the 4th quarter, and they've won 14 of the 22 games by double digits. There are 5 teams in the league who, combined, have not won 22 games since Houston started this improbable run in late January.
By no means am I a Houston Rockets fan. In fact, I've disliked the franchise immensely since they swept the Magic in the NBA Finals over a decade ago and then stole T-Mac in a trade for bums like Steve Francis and Kelvin Kato a few years after that. But if you're a basketball fan, you can't help but shake your head and appreciate this unlikeliest of scenarios. Going from 10th place to 1st in the ultra-tough Western Conference without losing a single game is an astonishing achievement, any way you slice it. I am impressed, interested, and paying attention.