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Rockets blast off in latest power rankings

Are they the team to beat in the NBA?

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets are the hottest team in the NBA. Prior to last night’s narrow loss to the Spurs, they were riding a 10-game winning streak into the eighth week of the season. They had blown past every foe in their path, including the Warriors.

Lately, they have beat up on the bottom-feeders in the league, handling the Timberwolves, Kings, Nets, and Pelicans. Although those opponents are not nearly in the upper-echelon of the league, there is something to be said about taking care of business.

National Power Rankings

Source Rank Trend
Source Rank Trend
ESPN 3 up 2
CBS Sports 1 - 3 up 1
USA Today 4 up 1

For the second week in a row, CBS Sports has the Houston Rockets in pole position of their power rankings, but are the Rockets the best team in the NBA? No, they aren’t.

The Rockets, like many Mike D’Antoni-coached teams, are a well-oiled machine that competes every night. They launch shots at a record-setting clip and are committed to defense. That is a recipe for success in the regular season of the NBA.

While they are objectively not a better basketball team than the Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers, they have proven they belong in the top tier of the league based on their play so far.

Nobody thought the Rockets would be nearly this good. They have proven us all wrong, but there is still a lot of season to play. A common saying in the NBA community is: “The season doesn’t start until Christmas.” Well, it’s almost the Christmas, and the Rockets are on Santa’s nice list so far.