Rockets Playoff Thoughts

The Houston Rockets have been on a tear since the NBA All-Star Break, going 7-1 with the one loss coming against the Clippers on the 4th game in 5 nights with a befuddling rotation being employed by Adelman. This team is still not near the serious playoff talks, but I figured I’d share some thoughts based on the records that I have been manually keeping of the Rockets and the other teams involved in the hunt for those last two spots. First, let me go ahead and give you a snapshot of all the teams that are looking for those open spots.

Houston Rockets (33-32)
Games Left/Behind: 17/3
Average Opponent Record: 0.530
Below .500 Teams: 6
Above .600 Teams: 5
Home/Away: 11/6

Utah Jazz (33-31)
Games Left/Behind: 18/2.5
Average Opponent Record: 0.521
Below .500 Teams: 5
Above .600 Teams: 6
Home/Away: 8/10
Games Against Rockets: 1

Phoenix Suns (32-29)
Games Left/Behind: 21/2
Average Opponent Record: 0.532
Below .500 Teams: 7
Above .600 Teams: 8
Home/Away: 11/10
Games Against Rockets: 2

Memphis Grizzlies (36-29)
Games Left/Behind: 17/0
Average Opponent Record: 0.511
Below .500 Teams: 7
Above .600 Teams: 4
Home/Away: 10/7
Games Against Rockets: 0

New Orleans Hornets (37-29)
Games Left/Behind: 16/-0.5
Average Opponent Record: 0.561
Below .500 Teams: 2
Above .600 Teams: 4
Home/Away: 11/5
Games Against Rockets: 1

Portland Trail Blazers (36-27)
Games Left/Behind: 19/-1
Average Opponent Record: 0.575
Below .500 Teams: 5
Above .600 Teams: 9
Home/Away: 10/9
Games Against Rockets: 0

Denver Nuggets
Games Left/Behind: 18/-1.5
Average Opponent Record: 0.503
Below .500 Teams: 7
Above .600 Teams: 7
Home/Away: 8/10
Games Against Rockets: 0


Of this group, the Nuggets, Grizzlies and Jazz have the easiest opponents in the remaining stretch, in that order. I think the Nuggets have pretty much sealed their spot in the playoffs and if things go their way, I could even see them taking the 4-seed over Oklahoma City (who only have a 4-loss cushion at the moment). The Grizzlies have got back-to-back wins against teams they should have lost to and without Rudy Gay. I’d say they are pretty safe to climb up to as high as the 7th spot from where they sit currently. The Blazers have the toughest remaining schedule but they have 10 games at home, where they have been quite dominant. I think they’ll wrap up the 6th seed.

This leaves us with 4 teams competing for the last spot: Hornets, Suns, Jazz and, of course, the Rockets. The Hornets, who are playing the second-roughest schedule of this group in the remaining games, only face 4 elite opponents (Dallas twice, Boston and LA), which is the easiest of the competing teams. They play a lot of teams in the .500s, so they are probably favorites at the moment to grab the 8th seed if CP3 returns healthy.

The Jazz have been in free fall, losing 8 of their last 10. If they drop their next game against the Raptors they will have the same record as the Rockets. Their schedule is slightly easier than Houston’s, but they have seemed unable to close out games (or even stay in them) without Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan. The Rockets will meet Utah 6 games from now—let’s hope that we pick up a win in that game that ends the Jazz’s playoff hopes (doubtful, though, since their opponents before us are Toronto, Minny, Chicago, Philly and Minny, and they could conceivably go 4-1 in this stretch).

My conclusion is that if the Rockets are to qualify to the playoffs, the Hornets will have to struggle and we’ll have to beat the Suns twice in the next week. Two wins there would put the Suns at just one fewer loss than the Rockets and they have a tougher record, facing 8 elite teams down the stretch of the season.

All in all, it looks like just another season at the Western Conference Playoff Race!

No cursing in title. No pirated material, such as links to online game streams. Do not cut/paste entire sections of content from other websites. Thanks.

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