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Inexplicable Swings Leave Houston Rockets Unintimidating

The Houston Rockets have the NBA's 17th best win percentage. A figure below two Eastern Conference teams out of the playoff picture.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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

Job Listing: The National Basketball Association's Houston Rockets are seeking a professional trombone player. Position requires the musician to attend all home and away games. The ideal candidate would sit courtside in the final minutes of each game with their instrument. When the Houston Rockets drop another contest to an inferior opponent the selected candidate would be expected to play a cartoon or sitcom style WOMP WOMP noise at a level audible to all Rockets fans.

If no suitable musicians can be found, the organization would like a Nelson Muntz impersonator capable of bellowing "HA HA" while pointing at every Rockets fans within a reasonable distance.

If the team doesn't hire such an individual, the fans might.

In the last two weeks the Houston Rockets have won contests against the L.A. Clippers and San Antonio Spurs while suffering defeats to the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans. It's a win and loss composition leaving fans, analysts, opponents and even Jason Terry wondering what the hell is going on.

The Rockets brackish season has delivered a win percentage of .500 and a 7th place playoff seeding in the Western Conference through 32 games. The league took notice when the Rockets surprised the Spurs on Christmas Day, a dramatic win showcasing the Rockets defense and a heroic second half performance from James Harden.

Beating the Spurs is a victory the league expected out of the Rockets last season, now it's an inexplicable blip wiped away by a loss to the recovering but still feeble New Orleans Pelicans.

The result... An absolute crapshoot from the NBA POWER RANKINGS:

Source

Rank

One Week Change

Two Week Change

ESPN 12 +3 +3
NBA.com 15 +4 +1
CBS Sports 9 +8 +6
SI 16 +1 +1

There is no trend. CBS Sports used wins over the Spurs and Clippers to justify a hike of eight places and a startling 9th place ranking. NBA.com dropped the Rockets after losses to the Nuggets and Kings, then gave them some dap after beating the Clippers and Spurs.

ESPN and SI largely held steady. On the whole the Rockets are 6-4 over their last ten and have gained ground from the last set of POWER RANKINGS by moving to .500 on the season.

L.A. Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls, all four of these teams have higher win percentages and better records than the Houston Rockets. Yet ESPN and CBS have dropped them below the Rockets, despite the fact the Grizzlies and Magic have handed the Rockets a loss in the last month.

The most realistic way to view the Houston Rockets current standing is win percentage, where the team stands at 17th in the NBA:

Team

Win%

Warriors .967
Spurs .818
Cavs .690
Thunder .677
Hawks .606
Pacers .600
Heat .600
Clippers .594
Raptors .594
Bulls .586
Mavs .581
Magic .581
Celtics .581
Hornets* .567
Pistons* .548
Griz .515
ROCKETS .500
Wizards .483
Jazz .448
Knicks .438

*This symbol means these are Eastern Conference Teams with better records than the Houston Rockets who are on the outside of the playoff picture.

For years the Houston Rocket bemoaned the disparity between Eastern and Western Conferences. Where a Rockets team with a winning record failed to make the Western Conference playoffs and losing teams won spots in the Eastern Conference.

This sentiment is dissipating fast as the Rockets are currently benefactors of the conference split. Showcased by the teams with better win percentages than the Houston Rockets: Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons.

Meanwhile the Rockets are poised to move up the Southewest Division rankings if they hit a stride, but are guaranteed not to hoist a Divison banner to the Toyota Center rafters this year. If not for the Houston Rockets the San Antonio Spurs would be undefeated in their last 10 games.

TEAM RECORD GB Last 10
San Antonio Spurs 27-6 0 9-1
Dallas Mavericks 18-13 8 6-4
Memphis Grizzlies 17-16 10 4-6
Houston Rockets 16-16 10.5 6-4
New Orleans Pelicans 10-21 16 5-5

Rockets fans will watch tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks with interest. The Rocket have played their best when up giants more difficult opponents and the Hawks are on a six game win streak. A win puts the team on the right path. A loss leaves the team stuck in the mire of volatile swings.