With homecourt in the first round sealed, the Rockets have turned their sights to the playoffs. Tonight, as they wrap up the regular season in New Orleans, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Jeremy Lin will all sit out, resting up for the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers. Patrick Beverley and Dwight Howard, both returning from injury against the Spurs, will play some minutes to get them prepped for the playoffs, but they too will see limited time on the court.
To fill in all these gaps made by resting starters, the Rockets went out looking for reinforcements. They recalled Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and also made their signing of Josh Powell official, bringing the roster back to 15. Canaan will likely see a good deal of minutes tonight as the only point guard not on a minute limit, and Covington and Powell will also see the floor quite a bit.
With the exception of potential Finals homecourt ramifications if the Rockets meet the Heat, a very unlikely scenario, tonight's game means little to the Rockets. With that in mind, the rest for the team makes a lot of sense. Harden and Parsons have played a ton of minutes for the Rockets this season, and any rest they can get for their banged up bodies certainly helps. Hopefully, the team will be at full strength when they kick off against Portland this week. The playoff schedule will be announced later tonight when all the matchups have been decided.