The Rockets came within one game of their first trip to the NBA Finals since the 1995 season Monday night, but were able to advance no further. For the second time in four seasons, the Rockets' dream of an NBA championship met its end at the hands of the buzzsaw that is the Golden State Warriors.
There are plenty of reasons as to why the Rockets couldn't make it past the Warriors, in spite of having a franchise-record 65 regular season wins, the top seed in the Western Conference, or home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. They include bad officiating, Chris Paul's injury, playing too few people in a rotation, or their inability to mitigate Golden State's signature third-quarter surges. The Houston Press has the list right here.
But here's the main thing: when you run an offense the lives and dies by the three, you're not going to win when you're hitting only less than 16% on your shots beyond the arc or when you go for a statistically unprecedented stretch of 0-27 from three-point range.
Yes, the Rockets had a great season. They came within a game of advancing to the NBA Finals, and they took the defending NBA champs - one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history - down to the wire. But, considering that the 2017-18 season had all the makings of "the year" for the Rockets, the fact that they didn't the Western Conference, much less an NBA title, can only mean that this season ended in disappointment.
There's nothing left for the Rockets to do now, other than to get ready for next season while they look back and wonder what could have been.