Three weeks of cruise control in the Western Conference standings as the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets sit at one, two and three. The Rockets lost a game on Golden State in the overall, but held on to their place in the Southwest Division in an eerie pre-All-Star break calm
On the whole it was a Dallas Mavericks week for the Rockets. Houston posted a 2-1 record by defeating Eastern playoff contenders, the Bulls and Bucks, while dropping a game to the Portland Trail Blazers. On the year the Mavericks are 35 - 19, but 3 - 11 against Western Conference playoff teams. So let's all call beating the East and losing to the West a Mavericks thing to do.
This run puts the Rockets at 5-2 since Dwight Howard went down with a knee injury. James Harden is making 30 point performances part of his commute and averaged 35 points over the last week.
Harden continues to carry an impressive but seemingly overwhelming offensive burden. The Rockets painfully nostalgic loss to the Trail Blazers included only two Rockets in double figures who are internationally recognized by their beard. Games where there's no contributions from Ariza, Beverley, Dorsey, Brewer, Terry and Jones (also known as over half your team) are not a recipe for success.
In the national power rankings the Rockets recovered from last week's Dwight Howard news by rising a spot in most rankings. Whoever does CBS Sports rankings must have watched James Harden for the first time as the Rockets rose five places in their rankings in the last two weeks. A rise matched only by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Here's what happened in the national power rankings this week:
Despite the Trail Blazers loss the Houston Rockets still maintain a half a game lead over Portland in the Western Conference standings. In the Southwest Division the Grizzlies continue their cushion at the top of the conference. The greatest likelihood of a shakeup is the Spurs potentially overtaking the Mavericks.
|San Antonio Spurs||33-19||5.5||3-1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||27-25||11.5||1-3|