HOUSTON -- The people have spoken and they ain't happy about my recent column discounting the Rockets' chances of making the playoffs without
Touch a nerve, did I? Look, I'm far from a Rockets hater. Before Yao's injury, I believed Houston to be a dark-horse candidate to come out of the Western Conference. Not just because of Yao or
The biggest benefactor of all these contributions has been McGrady, who acknowledged that he hasn't always trusted his teammates. "I've gotten better since I've been [in Houston]," McGrady told me for a story that appears in this week's
Does all this change my opinion of the Rockets' playoff chances? Ehhhhh. Houston benefited from a fairly easy February schedule (though, as one Rockets official pointed out, so did the Lakers). The Rockets' March slate is anything but easy: They will face all of the other top West contenders, with a home game against Boston mixed in as well. A mid-March stretch of four games in five nights against the Celtics, Hornets, Warriors and Suns -- the last three on the road -- will be especially grueling. It's still an uphill battle.
"It's a bitch of a conference," McGrady said.
I'll take it one step further, Allen. New Jersey got a steal in Harris. The Nets are convinced that
The question that remains is what to do with
Butler has missed the last 12 games with a hip injury. Arenas has been sidelined since having knee surgery in November (his second knee surgery in seven months). I'm told that both players will be back this season. I think it's a mistake.
The Wizards have little chance of making any noise in the postseason. They would would be wise to be careful with Butler, who is in the third year of a five-year, $50 million contract, and Arenas, who will opt out of his contract and become a free agent after this season.
Wizards general manager