Five observations from the night the end came into focus for the Pistons, the night the end came out of nowhere for
Six consecutive trips to at least the conference finals is a major accomplishment that conceivably will not be duplicated in an era of constant roster movement and frequent coaching changes. The deeper Detroit legacy is having gone six for six, while winning the title once and losing in the Finals another time, without a superstar or even an automatic All-Star, the kind of player usually required to consistently drive a club through the playoffs.
In those six years, the champion Spurs had
He is incredibly popular and incredibly respected in the locker room, not to mention around the entire league, so one issue for the Rockets moving forward is how well they respond to seeing Mutombo agonizing on the court in a reaction that indicated a serious knee injury. The 18-year veteran said after the game that his career was over, an emotional blow for the entire team.
What happened after he left the game at Portland was encouraging. Mutombo crumpled with 1:17 left in the first quarter and the Rockets leading 24-20, close enough that it would be impossible to connect the eventual 107-103 loss to Houston's mood, but several stretches after that signaled a focused team.