After months of hard work, the Houston Rockets have finally clinched the third seed in the Western Conference. They've been locked into it for weeks, but now it's official.
Before the season, many pundits had their doubts about the new look Rockets.
Could Mike D'Antoni's offense work in 2017?
Could James Harden take his game to the next level?
Would the team find shooters to help Harden?
It took a little bit of time, but after the team's 15-2 December, all those questions were answered.
With Harden running D'Antoni's offense, plus the additions of sharpshooters Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, the Rockets have been elevated from a team that was said to be on the fringe of the playoffs to one that should be truly feared.
Now with four games left in the regular season, it's time to start ramping back into contender form.
Unfortunately for Houston, they weren't able to go bell-to-bell without any setbacks, and for about the past two weeks the team has had to deal with injuries, which has taken adjustment.
Now with Harden seemingly healthy and Anderson set to return Friday, the team — minus Sam Dekker, out with a broken hand — will have hopefully four games to get rollin' before they hit the playoffs.
When the Rockets are going well, everyone has a job and they perform it to a T. But when two big cogs in D'Antoni's offensive machine aren't working correctly, what you get is a team that plays hard but just isn't able to score enough.
With Harden playing through a wrist injury and Anderson out with an injury, you saw that same script time and time again with losses to the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers.
The good news is the injuries are (knock on wood) coming to an end.
Wednesday night, Harden proved he was back to form, scoring 31 points (4-10 from three) and dishing out 10 assists as the Rockets beat a very game Denver Nuggets 110-104.
This Friday, the final cog in D'Antoni's offense should return with Anderson set to play. When he comes back, if it is on Friday, it will help the team get back to normal by putting everyone back in their regular roles.
Trevor Ariza will head back to small forward, and Troy Williams will move to Dekker's spot on the bench.
The offense, and the team in general, of late has not been the team that wowed and shocked everyone in the NBA earlier in the season. But getting healthy at the right time will give the Rockets a chance at catching the magic right before the most important time in the season.