Just two games on the slate this week – rematches at Toyota Center against Denver and New Orleans. The Rockets will have three days to rest in between.
The Rockets are going to be the third seed. That’s just inevitable at this point as neither the Jazz nor the Clippers have been able to put together any sort of run, despite the Rockets dropping games they should be winning. Golden State, after winning three straight, has now firmly regained control of the #1 seed, an encouraging development given the reasonable desire for the Rockets to avoid the Warriors for as long as possible. But Oklahoma City has come charging to within a half game of the fifth seed on the strength of a five game winning streak. Despite the Clippers’ tendency to self-combust, that’s not a matchup I want in the first round.
The Rockets are now on pace to go 56-26 with twelve games remaining. The only games left on the slate that you’d say they could lose are the two remaining with Golden State, but really, after the loss to New Orleans, the Rockets could lose to anyone. They’d need to go just 8-4 to reach the expected 56-26, so that’s a pretty safe bet. 10-2 puts them at 58-24, matching the win total registered by the ’94 title team, a group who also had the league MVP.