(Lowry, more exciting than Mitt Romney, perhaps not a contender, though)

Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum carved up the Rockets last night, Houston 3 loss in 5 games to start the lockout-shortened season. Thus far, Kevin McHale’s squad has been equal does exciting and exasperating, leading Red94’s Jacob Mustafa to declare “The Rockets, if nothing else, remain a League Pass staple for those who like to see a team actively push and struggle to win nightly and brew up some fun doing it.” (“Houston’s status as ‘everyone’s fifth favorite team works perfectly, especially for a team so used to being the unofficial squad for the world’s biggest country”)

This flirting-with-good-business has left me and a host of other Rockets heads left in a perpetual purgatory, while other onlookers get to see Houston for the rollicking barrel of excitement that its offense really is. For them, Kyle Lowry’s growth represents just that, not a failure to be something that never reasonably could have been expected of him. Luis Scola and Kevin Martin, suddenly anchors dragging the Rockets down to the lowly territory of the winning, look like the competent craftsmen they are, established professionals working within the framework of the low post and open jumper, respectively. Jordan Hill’s jump toward respectability at defense? The mercurial Nash-isms of Goran Dragic? Every single thing about Terrence Williams? All of these random strangers are getting to enjoy the fruits of the team I cover, the team I’ve kept my eye on since I can remember having eyes, all because these bystanders have nothing invested in the team rather than a rooting interest in the game and teams that play it interestingly, that play it well.

The night’s other big contest, the Iowa presidential caucuses, produced a winner in Mitt Romney that plenty of those that wish him well don’t even particularly like, other than for one reason: he can win. He didn’t always seem like the most enchanting option to those ready to elect him, but it didn’t matter if he could get the job done. So forgive us unappreciative suckers who can’t even find a heartwarming, captivating team for which to cheer even if its underneath our noses; we’re too busy trying to figure out how to turn all of this excitement into some plodding, monotonous winning.