Playoff atmosphere comes early for Rockets

Playoff atmosphere comes early for Rockets
April 17, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Lin says tonight's game vs. LAL is huge

The playoffs have yet to officially begin, but for the Rockets, that playoff atmosphere has already arrived.

For the players, the playoff atmosphere really began taking shape last Friday against the Grizzlies, when the Rockets lost a tightly-contested defensive battle 82-78. Now, with so much at stake for so many different teams in the season finale against the Lakers, with this game taking place in the "Showtime" atmosphere, with this game being nationally televised, they feel the hype.

"It's a great experience tonight," James Harden said. "It's a great opportunity to come to LA. They're fighting for their playoff lives and we're trying to get a win, so it's going to be a great atmosphere. Everybody's going to be watching. It's kind of what we want."

The Rockets also want to make sure they don't head to the playoffs coming off two consecutive losses to end the regular year. On top of that, playoff seeding and who they'll play in the playoffs will all be determined by the end of the night.

"It's exciting," Chandler Parsons said. "There's no bigger stage. There's a ton of media surrounding it, but we've got to block all that out and come out here and play our game and not worry about anybody else or what's going on in the game before us."

"Tonight, we're going to be in a hostile, hostile environment," Jeremy Lin said. "It's probably going to be the craziest it's been all year in any arena tonight, I believe. So if we come out here alive and if we win this game, it'll mean a lot. And if not, we'll learn a lot."

Obviously, the Rockets hope more to win the game instead of learning from it. After all, it's time to put on that playoff game face.

"We just want to get a good win," Harden said. "Get a good win, kind of get our swagger back going into these playoffs. We just need to do whatever it takes to win."