After disposing of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Houston Rockets travel to Minnesota to take on the Wolves in a showdown against a team that should be much better than its current record. Houston fans will get another up-and-close look at the object of their consensus desire in power forward Kevin Love; after looking at their own team on the court, they most likely will just be happy with what they have.
The good guys then come back to Toyota Center to take on John Wall, former Rocket Trevor Ariza, and former almost-Rocket Nene. As an aside, kind of interesting looking at the last few drafts dating back to Harden’s rookie class where, if asked this question last season, you would have ranked Harden at the head of the table among all guys that have come out, in retrospect. But now, John Wall and Kyrie Irving have switched places, The Brow is probably your first pick, and there is a strong case to be made for Blake Griffin above Harden with the young power forward coming on in CP3′s absence. These things fluctuate remarkably though.
And here are the standings: Houston enters the week as the hottest team out West, having won 5 games in a row and 8 of their last 10. The Rockets have now put some comfortable distance between themselves and the Phoenix/Golden State/Dallas tier and I expect that gap to widen if the team stays healthy. While Houston is a better team than the Spurs, I don’t see catching San Antonio as a foregone conclusion. Portland, on the other hand, is a different story as I expect that paper tiger to freefall as the second half ensues. If good health prevails, the good guys should be fighting it out for the second and third seeds. But that is only if good health prevails.