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Bickerstaff Wins Not Helping League Perception Of Houston Rockets

J.B. Bickerstaff's wins have come against opponents with a win percentage of 32.5%.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We're back. This is a weekly column to track the Houston Rockets standing in POWER RANKINGS across the NBA.

Fourteen games into J.B. Bickerstaff's tenure the Houston Rockets limped their way to a .500 record before dropping a regrettable contest to the Denver Nuggets. The boys in red and yellow sit at 12 - 13 good for the 7th playoff spot *GASP* in the Western Conference.

Houston found their way into the playoff picture by finding 7 wins in their past 10 games and passing a lackluster crop of teams in the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers.

With the exception of a much needed easy win against the Lakers, the Rockets haven't looked spectacular. The team has disappointingly registered a high-water mark of 'playing their game to limited results.' Getting Bickerstaff's wins required shaky opponents and overtime victories against inferior opponents. Honesty in the NBA is admitting a two point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers is insufficient.

Bickerstaff's Wins:

Portland: 108 - 103 OT
Philadelphia: 116 - 114
New York Knicks: 116 - 111 OT
New Orleans: 108 - 101
Dallas: 100 - 96
Sacramento: 120 - 113
Washington: 109 - 103
L.A. Lakers: 126 - 97

The cumulative record of these opponents on the year is a paltry 65 - 132 or a 33% win percentage.

These wins haven't been impressive and the league is following along as Hoopsheads across the league have only incrementally slid the Rockets up the POWER RANKINGS. For a Rockets team with great expectations this is a zombie-like rise in the NBA ranks: the Walking Dead type of zombie, not the 28 Days Later type.

Source

Rank

One Week Change

Two Week Change

ESPN 15 +3 +10
NBA.com 18 +3 +9
CBS Sports 15 +2 +9
SI 17 +1 +4

The San Antonio Spurs are getting the short end of the Golden State Warriors greatness. They may not be undefeated, but they've found a way to infuse their reputation for being smart and crafty with a new dose of athleticism. Fear the Spurs. Teams know they're smarter than any other team in the league, but with Aldridge and Leonard, they may now be stronger most teams too.

The Rockets are not poised to catch the boys in black and sliver, which arguably doesn't matter at all now the NBA has restructured playoff seeding to reflect only your finishing position in the conference. But the Rockets standings are currently benefiting from a tide of mediocrity swelling in the NBA's best division (or formerly best). A cake schedule until Christmas leaves the Rockets with a clear path to second place in the division, but expect them to either defy expectations or get clawed back to earth after the holiday.

TEAM RECORD GB Last 10
San Antonio Spurs 21-5 0 8-2
Dallas Mavericks 14-11 6.5 5-5
Memphis Grizzlies 14-12 7.0 5-5
Houston Rockets 12-13 8.5 7-3
New Orleans Pelicans 6-18 14 3-7