Culture / Sporting Life

Draymond Green Trolls Rockets Fans After Game 6 Embarrassment, Beyonce Draws a Standing O and Fights Break Out at Toyota

Inside the Final Night of Another Lost Rockets Season

BY // 05.11.19

Draymond Green just cannot let it go. The Golden State Warriors’ fire starter is almost in the tunnel, but he turns back at the last moment to shout at a group of Houston Rockets fans standing on the side. Green, half turned, yells some parting shots that are anything but sweet nothings for a good minute.

Only then does he finally bound toward the tunnel, heading for another Warriors celebration in Houston, grinning all the way. Moments earlier, DeMarcus Cousins — one of the Golden State stars who is too injured to even play — is mocking James Harden’s team.

“I know this shit hurts!” Boogie shouts out.

This is how another lost season ends for the Houston Rockets, with the supposedly vulnerable Warriors dancing on their graves and screaming about it for all to hear. On a night when both Houston’s queen (Beyonce with Jay-Z on her arm) and Game of Thrones‘ queen (Emilia Clarke) are in the front row, and Kevin Durant is nowhere to be found, the Rockets cannot even win on their home court to force another Game 7.

Instead, this mess of a roster that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey assembled shows all its flaws in another big spot. When Durant limped off the floor in Oakland the other night, the Rockets should have smelled blood and a huge opportunity to flip the script on Golden State.

They end up needing smelling salts instead.

“This one’s going to leave a mark,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni says in his postgame press conference after Warriors 118, Rockets 113 in Game 6. Hey, nobody ever said the mocking Cousins was wrong.

This one does not just hurt. It haunts. Anyone still harboring the illusion that these Houston Rockets of James Harden and Chris Paul are capable of winning a championship can go ahead and drop the charade. That window’s slammed shut. It’s now as quaint as the notion that Houston can have a major rainstorm without flooding.

Yes, the Rockets of last season would have won the title if Chris Paul’s hamstring did not betray him, but that fleeting moment’s long gone. Despite Paul’s throwback Game 6 (27 points, 11 rebounds, six assists), he is a high-mileage 34-year-old point guard who can no longer summon it every night. And Clint Capella, the 24-year-old who is supposed to be Houston’s rising star, only took major steps back this season.

Harden is going to need some new help. Where Morey finds it is anyone’s guess.

Toyota Goes Down Fighting

What a downer of a night. You cannot fault Rockets fans. They bring it. They file into Toyota Center with such belief, such certainty that this series is headed to Game 7 with Durant down. Every single seat in the arena appears to be filled at the opening tip. It’s beyond loud.

Even Beyonce plays to the camera when she’s shown on the Jumbotron. Her waving as she tugs on Jay-Z’s arm is enough to draw a standing ovation from the Houston faithful and others (even Stephen Curry fans love Beyonce).

Then, it all starts to fall apart. Even with Durant back in California, even with Curry going scoreless in the first half, the Rockets fail to grab the game. Klay Thompson scores 21 points in the first 24 minutes, getting open for 3-pointers when he’s the only shooter on the floor.

The 57-57 score at halftime is a major Rockets loss.

By the time, Curry gets something going in the fourth quarter, it’s all falling apart for Houston. Several ugly mini brawls even break out in the stands. Frustration is boiling over everywhere. A Houston professional sports arena has seldom been quite this on edge. Even Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson decides to leave a little early.

This is what happens when reality comes crashing down with the force of a dragon swooping in from the sky. Another season fell on top of the Rockets and their fans. In their own arena. Again.

It turns out that Ayesha Curry is not the only Northern California who’s made herself right at home in Houston.

And these championship proven Warriors are loving  every moment of it.

“I’m not going to sit here and sugar coat it,” Draymond Green says later at the microphone. ” ‘No, no we’re used to this.’ Yeah, we’re used to winning. But this one felt amazing.”

This is the type of game that lingers. It’s not the sudden heartbreak of a last minute NCAA Tournament loss. It’s the unmistakable realization that the Warriors are still so much better. The Rockets — and Morey — have closed the gap about as effectively as a Florida senior citizen attempting to shadow a Porsche.

This is a different type of pain.

“This is not something you get over with,” D’Antoni says. “I’m definitely not going to get over it in this press conference, or tomorrow, or the next night.”

Another season is gone. This Harden-Paul opportunity is closed. What now?

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