Friday, March 14, 2008

Houston Rockets Go For 21 Consecutive Victories Tonight

Tracy McGradyIn the NBA there are a few records that seem to be unbreakable. The top two on that list to The Blot would be Wilt Chamberlain’s record for most points scored by a single player in a game (100 points) set on March 2nd, 1962 and the Los Angeles Lakers’ record of 33 straight wins during the 1971-72 season. I bring this up because the Houston Rockets have been going on a tear not seen in the league in a very long time. After going undefeated in the month of February and then losing Yao Ming, their best player, to a season ending injury, the Rockets are in a position to claim sole possession of 2nd place on the NBA’s all time win streaks list. It should be a feat they can accomplish since they are playing at home tonight against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.

All Time NBA Win Streaks
Currently tied for second on the all-time consecutive victories list with the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks, the Houston Rockets can also go 8-0 since losing their All-Star center. It has been over 30 years since anyone has hit the 20 consecutive victories plateau, so that should tell you how rare and spectacular an accomplishment this is for the Rockets. The closest anyone has come in recent years is the 1999-2000 LA Lakers who put together a streak of 19 straight victories. It should be noted that of the three teams that have put together 19 or more consecutive victories in the history of the NBA, all three ended up winning the NBA championship that year. While this is not indicative of how the Rockets’ season will end, it should give the team hope come playoff time after failing to get out of the first round the past few years.

Tracy McGrady, Head Coach Rick Adelman and Rafer Alston
With that being said, there are many critics complaining that the streak has come at a time where the majority of the Rockets’ games have been at home and against lesser opponents. This sounds pretty ludicrous to me considering all NBA teams play the same type schedule and it is hard for me to believe that this block of 20 games is the easiest schedule over the past 30 years, especially since the Western Conference is at an all time high in talent. I know for a fact there have been better teams in the NBA who have also played in weaker conferences and yet none of those teams have been able to put together a streak of 20 consecutive victories. In fact, when the Chicago Bulls put together the greatest record in NBA history in 1995-96 with a record of 72-10 they were only able to put together an 18 game winning streak. And many consider that team to be the greatest team of the modern era. Look, I’m not a Rockets fan but what they’re doing is really, really impressive and I hope they win tonight so they can claim second place all to themselves.

Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady
After that victory though Houston should expect their streak to end and end quickly as The Blot heads to the Toyota Center this Sunday to watch Kobe and the Lakers take down the Yao-less Rockets. Even if by some miracle they survive the one-two punch of Kobe and Pau Gasol the Rockets then have a very hard road ahead including being home against the Celtics and then a road trip against three playoff caliber teams (New Orleans, Golden State and Phoenix). If Houston can stay undefeated over that 5 game stretch I think all critics will finally be quieted and Houston’s chance for an NBA title would become more realistic. At that point they would also probably have the best record in the Western Conference. Realistically though I think if they go .500 over those 5 games the Rockets will still be in great shape to make a long run come playoff time. But to expect a shot at breaking the all time NBA consecutive victory mark would be pretty foolish and unrealistic. So The Blot has one recommendation to the Rockets, get a victory tonight and be proud of 21 straight wins, because Sunday is the day it all ends!

NBA All Time Win Streak Comparison
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