Pro/College Sports Year in Review: Rockets take on Golden State, Harden MVP

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 27: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Rockets did what most pundits thought was impossible – they took the defending world champion Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets actually held a 3-2 advantage in the series when the unthinkable happened. With roughly two minutes remaining in Game 5, Chris Paul injured his hamstring and was lost for the remainder of the series. With Paul’s absence the Rockets lacked the fire power to defeat Golden State. The Warriors went on to sweep LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. 

After averaging 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds in 2017-18 and leading the Rockets to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and a 65-17 record, James Harden was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Harden was a model of consistency and it was his 

second straight year to be in the top three of the voting for the MVP award and third time in the last four years.