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Houston Rockets vs. Washington Wizards game preview

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a Rockets fan, your biggest concern probably isn’t winning the final five games of the season. After all, the Rockets have the best record in the NBA locked up. They will have homecourt advantage to start every series they play in. Even if Houston stumbles to the finish, they will end the season holding the best record in franchise history with 62+ regular season wins.

No, if you’re a Rockets fan your concern is probably a bit different at this point. You want health, obviously. And rhythm is nice, too. But the largest concern heading into the next week-plus is the MVP situation.

At this point, you’re worried that James Harden doesn’t see the LeBron James freight train coming. You’re waving your arms and yelling at Harden, but you’re not sure if he can hear you. “Look out behind you! It’s a chasedown block! The media will develop whatever narrative it needs to in order to strip you of the MVP you’ve earned!”

Maybe James will listen. Or maybe the whole thing is silly. Either way, the Wizards couldn’t care less.

Washington is 42-35 and sitting just one game ahead of both the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. There’s bound to be a little jockeying as the teams try to win and get the 3 seed rather than the Toronto Raptors. Except, you know, the 3 seed might be the Cleveland Cavaliers. So winning might come at a price if the Cavs hold off the Sixers.

As far as the Rockets are involved, the Wizards are the only team left on their schedule that Houston hasn’t beaten. The teams met earlier in 2018 but Houston was at the end of a 5-game slide and brought back Chris Paul a bit early to try to right the ship. It didn’t work.

On the playoff front, the Rockets could technically still play anyone in the 4-10 group, so we’ll start to pay a little attention to those games below.

Games that affect Houston’s first-round playoff opponent (all times CT):

Expect a lot of movement heading into next weekend.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT