Houston Is Skyrocketing at the Right Time
Yes, I'm very aware of the fact that the Rockets lost to the Clippers last night.
But there's no shame in losing to a stout LA team that is a formidable 24-5 at home.
Despite that loss, the Rockets are still an NBA-best 17-6 since the turn of the new year. In fact, with a 39-19 record, the Rockets are in a grudge match with the Clips for the fourth-best record in the West and only trail the Portland Trail Blazers by a single game in the standings.
It's safe to assume that Houston is emerging as a contender for that coveted title of Western Conference champion.
But has anyone noticed?
The Rockets are quietly starting to cause ripples within the NBA. These tremors haven't reached epic proportions yet, but the seismograph is starting to sense some movement.
The main players in the West -- like the Clipppers, Thunder, and Spurs -- seem to attract the majority of the headlines. Even the Los Angeles Lakers, who are having an abysmal year, are receiving more of the spotlight than the Rockets. That's even after the biggest man in all of the land, Dwight Howard, departed LA and moved to a slightly smaller market -- Houston is No 5 in the USA to Los Angeles being No 2, but the latter gets much more buzz -- with an already established star in James Harden.
The Double H Express of Howard and Harden seems to be mutually complementary. Harden aides in offensive relief whenever Howard decides to retreat into his shell and act passively on the offensive end. However, Howard makes up for Harden's deficiencies whenever Harden, known for his porous defense, allows his opponents to blow by him. The perfect couple, yes?
With Chandler Parsons pitching in as a third weapon offensively, Terrence Jones mopping up scraps in the paint, Patrick Beverley providing stability at the point guard position, and Jeremy Lin doing what he does best off the bench -- shoot and score -- the Rockets find themselves in an opportunistic position to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Houston isn't just setting its sights on making the playoffs. The team feels it can bang with the big boys and frankly, I don't blame them. Offensively, the Rockets cause nightmares for defenses because almost anyone on their roster can step out and drain a trey. And silently but effectively, the Rockets are climbing into the Top Ten when it comes to defensive efficiency.
Watch out, NBA, because "Houston, we have a problem" doesn't pertain to this basketball team anymore.