A look at the Houston Rockets’ schedule for the week of January 26 through February 2

image courtesy of Rockets.com, nba.com

image courtesy of Rockets.com, nba.com

After getting completely manhandled in a back to back against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Houston Rockets now sit at 29-17, fifth in the Western Conference.  Entering the week, especially with Chris Paul’s injury, Houston seemed to have a real shot at overtaking the fourth-seeded Clippers and even applying pressure upon the skidding Blazers who seem destined to come back down to earth.  But you didn’t really think the Rockets would seize the opportunity, did you?  Come on man, this is the Houston Rockets we’re talking about.  Jekyll and Hyde.  They’ll trudge along amidst the middle seeds because they’re just not ready for prime time.

The Rockets will get a few days to lick their wounds before coming home to host the Spurs, the one truly elite team (I don’t really count the Blazers – they’re a paper tiger) who they’ve handled with relative ease.  Kawhi Leonard is out, so expect James Harden to continue his dominance against these interstate rivals.  (Isn’t it just weird how some guys just have some teams’ number?)  I don’t expect Parker to be so thoroughly kept in check the way he was the last time these two teams got together.  Could Houston beat San Antonio in a seven game series?  They could, but I probably wouldn’t bet on it.  I could honestly see the Rockets winning the first two games of the series before Poppovich made some adjustment that completely threw the good guys for a loop, causing the series to completely shift.  But on paper, and on the scoreboard so far, this is the single best matchup for the Rockets out of any of the elite teams.  Leonard, for some reason, can’t handle Harden, Howard is enough to neutralize Timmy, and Splitter is the one Western Conference power forward who cannot truly capitalize upon the Rockets’ inexperience at the power forward.  In fact, if they played the Spurs on a national stage, I could see Terrence Jones have a coming out party the likes of Harrison Barnes’ last year.

The good guys then travel to Dallas the very next night to take on a Mavericks team against whom they’ve dropped their last two.  Without Asik, it will be a very long night facing Dirk Nowitzki.  And lastly, the home fans will get an up close look at Kyrie Irving when the Rockets come back home to face Cleveland on Saturday the 1st.

courtesy of nba.com

courtesy of nba.com

And there’s a look at the standings, as of today.  OKC and San Antonio will continue to run away with the conference, while I expect Portland to drop back down to earth towards the next tier.  Houston, Portland, and Golden State should battle it out for the next seeds as the season progresses.  I expect Phoenix to continue to fall, now 4-6 in their last 10.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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  • Red94 says 2 YEARs ago New post: A look at the Houston Rockets' schedule for the week of February 9 through February 16
    By: rahat huq

    [caption id="attachment_13984" align="alignnone" width="768">Houston Rockets schedule image courtesy of nba.com[/caption>

    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.

    [caption id="attachment_13985" align="alignnone" width="745">West standings via nba.com[/caption>

    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.

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