The question, admittedly, was a dumb one, considering who was being asked.
The Houston Rockets had just dismantled the Miami Heat in AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night to become the season's first 5-0 team. After the game, I asked Rockets coach Kevin McHale if he thought that people were sleeping on his team a bit after famously getting left at the altar by Chris Bosh this summer and parting ways with Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin.
The response was classic McHale, who has long shown little tolerance for media prodding and perception.
"I don't know," McHale said, shaking his head. "I'm going to be sleeping in about 45 minutes. That's the only sleep I'm worried about."
We laughed. He continued.
"I don't know, man," McHale said. "Let me tell you something -- this is the truth, too -- I don't care what anybody thinks. Why would I care what you thought? I don't care about anything. I care about what we do in that locker room with our guys. All that caring goes away as soon as you step on that floor. Then you have to go out there and compete."
Fair enough. Point taken. Nonetheless, the Rockets understand how events unfolded this summer might have looked on the outside. They reportedly told Parsons that they'd match any offer made in restricted free agency, and then didn't. They frantically dumped Lin's contract on the Los Angeles Lakers along with a 2015 first-round pick to create cap space to sign Bosh; Bosh didn't sign. It seemed GM Daryl Morey, famously nicknamed "Dork Elvis" by Bill Simmons, had outsmarted himself.
But look at the Rockets now. They've won each of their first five games with eerily symmetrical dominance: 108-90, 104-93, 104-90, 104-93 and 108-91. They've trailed for just 12 percent of their in-game action this season, the lowest rate in the NBA. It's statistically the best five-game start in franchise history. They've outscored opponents by 71 points, the widest margin in the five instances the team has jumped out to a 5-0 record.
However, the way they're winning is more interesting than the actual record itself.