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Where's the respect? Houston Rockets hold 3rd in standings

We're mad at ESPN's 8th place ranking despite the Houston Rockets overcoming injuries and roster shuffling to hold 3rd place and home court advantage in the playoffs.

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If you're a regular Dream Shaker you've noticed this is a new weekly column. Each week I tell you how swiftly the Houston Rockets are swimming in the wet cement ocean we know as the Western Conference.

There's playoff implications. Injury updates. Even mentions of the New Orleans Pelicans.

But not this week. This week we're angry. The Rockets have gone 3-1 since the All-Star break, including 2-1 against playoff teams.

The Houston Rockets have been third in the Western Conference for a month now. The earth has made one twelfth of a rotation around the sun, but the Houston Rockets haven't budged from home court advantage in the playoffs.

The Rockets are 9-4 without Dwight Howard. Including a 5-3 record against playoff teams from both conferences. The team has beaten every Western Conference playoff contender except those Golden State Warriors, who everyone can objectively recognize are a matchup problem.

If the NBA were a single table, the Rockets would be in fourth place. Only the Atlanta Hawks have a better record in the East. That's good for a spot in the Champions League for those who follow the English Premier League.

So... ESPN, what's with this continual eighth place ranking? The Rockets have withstood everything thrown at them with little fanfare, an overlooked pile of James Harden points and unexpected bench contributions from a rotating cast.

This continual 8th place and 7th place rankings produce a deep visceral "U mad bro?" feeling. The feeling isn't produced because the Rockets have been a better team than the hard-charging Cavs or Grizzlies over the past month.

Rockets fans should be angry because no matter which team is hot or cold, the rankings specialists ignore the calm, cool and gradual success of a Rockets team continually surmounting injuries, the Western Conference and awful schedule stretches.

Here's what happened in the national power rankings this week:





ESPN 8 0 2/23
SB Nation 7 0 2/23
Yahoo! 7 -1 2/23
USA Today 4 0 2/21
CBS Sports 7 -4 2/23
SI 5 0 2/26

See. See. ESPN has the Raptors and Spurs above the Rockets. Do they even basketball?

The San Antonio Spurs need to check themselves before they wreck themselves (read that in a monotone voice, it's funnier). They're 0-4 in the last week and are giving the Mavericks extra time to figure out who Rajon Rondo is:

Memphis Grizzlies 41-15 0 2-1
Houston Rockets 39-18 2.5 3-1
Dallas Mavericks 39-21 4.0 3-2
San Antonio Spurs 34-23 7.5 0-4
New Orleans Pelicans 30-27 12.0 3-1