HOUSTON It was fitting, really, that on the night the Rockets honored their Team of the 2000s, a decade marred by agonizing near misses, they closed a third consecutive season befitting the same description.
Former Rockets All-Star guard Steve Francis sat courtside with the families of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady on Thursday evening, all providing vivid reminders of just how often the Rockets came close to breaking through in the aughts. That so little has changed relative to the bottom line for the Rockets must have reverberated in the hearts of those fans that have stood steadfast in their support of this franchise.
It would seem improbable for an organization to string together three successive winning campaigns only to wind up in the lottery on each occasion, but that's what the Rockets accomplished in rallying past the hapless Hornets 84-77 at Toyota Center.
The Rockets (34-32), who finished 43-39 last season and 42-40 in 2009-10, will pick 14th in the NBA Draft for a th...