Playoffs. Playoffs. Playoffs.
Sure there's a game today. But the Houston Rockets-New Orleans Pelicans game is less about Sunday's on-court action than the playoff games tipping off in six days. The Rockets are fighting to regain home court advantage while the Pelicans are fighting for their invitation to play the Golden State Warriors.
In a span of three days the Houston Rockets went from second seed in the ever-shifting Western Conference to sixth place after the San Antonio Spurs hung two losses on the boys in red. Houston is half a game behind the Memphis Grizzlies, L.A. Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.
New Orleans is currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference and they have control of their playoff destiny. Making the playoffs likely means the Pelicans will be steamrolled by the Warriors but affirms Anthony Davis presence in the upper-echelon of NBA players. The Pelicans hold the tie break over Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Houston is coming off a backbreaking second consecutive loss to the Spurs. The loss dropped the Rockets in the playoff picture and set off another wildfire of "James Harden lives and dies by the whistle" arguments.
With back-to-back games today and tomorrow Dwight Howard will take the court against the Pelicans and rest against the Hornets tomorrow evening. The Rockets will be missing Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas, who are both out for the season.
Anthony Davis will play tonight after taking an elbow to the throat and missing half of their game against the Phoenix Suns. Jrue Holiday is working his way back into the Pelicans rotation in his second game back from missing over 40 games.
The Pelicans hold the season advantage over the Rockets 1-2. And they may be the only team in the league to face Dwight Howard in all of their match ups.