Houston currently owns a 25-22 record and would be the 8th seed in the Western Conference if the playoffs started today. As previous years have shown, the West’s playoff race is often extremely tight, and the Rockets are far from certain to avoid a fourth consecutive trip to the lottery. The Rockets’ chances of making the playoffs are primarily a function of two factors: Houston’s own performance and that of its Western Conference peers. What follows is an analysis of these two factors and an attempt to provide a clearer picture of Houston’s playoff hopes.
One of the league’s premier players, Rajon Rondo, will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. This signifies a huge shift in franchise prospectus for a handful of teams; now that the Celtics, already struggling for the East’s final playoff spot, have lost their most important piece, they’ve become a major factor in trade-scenarios.
I do believe that it should be mentioned again. The Houston Rockets went into Salt Lake City in a game with major playoff race implications, and for seven seconds, managed to lead by 50 points. Unfortunately, Alec Burks made a layup and Kevin Murphy made a 3-pointer, so Houston had to settle for winning by 45 points and handing the Jazz its worst defeat in Utah ever. So it goes.