A little more than two weeks ago it appeared the Houston Rockets were headed to the playoffs in Kevin McHale's first season as coach.
Instead a late-season swoon dropped the Rockets out of the postseason for the third straight year and left them to ponder what happened during a six-game losing streak that doomed their season.
McHale still can't seem to believe what happened, saying: ''there's no way we shouldn't be playing in the playoffs this weekend.''
The Rockets were in sixth place in the Western Conference after a win over Portland on April 9, which completed a four-game road sweep. Then the trouble began, with Houston dropping a season-high six straight games from April 11-19 that left it nearly impossible to reach the postseason.
The Rockets were eliminated from contention with a loss at Miami two days after that.