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Houston Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets game preview

Can Houston get its ninth win in a row?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

*In the most perfect Mr. Peanutbutter impression you’ve ever heard that you would’ve sworn it was Paul F. Tompkins himself*: “Are Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn on the Rockets? Because they are STREAKINNNNNGGG.”

That was a “Bojack Horseman” and “Old School” bit rolled into one lede paragraph, and I really hoped it paid off.

I honestly don’t care how much we will repeat this fact, I am damn proud of it - The Houston Rockets, after starting the season 11-14 and second to last in the West, are riding an EIGHT-GAME WINNING STREAK AND ARE SITTING IN THIRD, TWO-AND-HALF GAMEs BEHIND THE SECOND-PLACE NUGGETS, AT 41-25.

OK, that’s enough all-caps and hyphens for the rest of the article.

This is currently Houston’s longest winning streak of the season, and it is the current longest active winning streak in the game. They will put their streak on the line against the Charlotte Hornets at Toyota Center tonight. Coincidentally, a win against the Hornets in Charlotte on Feb. 27 was the third win on this streak. I’m sure I can prove it very easily, but I’m going to say, without research, that 12 days is the shortest amount of time that Houston has gone between the first and second matchup against an Eastern Conference opponent.

Here is a fun, proven fact for you, though. Only two players so far this season have had 60+-point games: James Harden (61) and Kemba Walker (60). Another fun fact for you: There have been 15 50+-point games this season by 10 different players - Harden has 6 of the them and is the only player with multiple of such games.

While it would be easy to call this a trap game, I don’t think it applies to Houston as of late. The Rockets lost enough bad games early on this season that now they’re playing with more than enough focus. Not to mention that it’s not just a “Oh, we’re lucky to be here” approach after their slow start. No, they’re right up with the best of the best in the West and only four games behind first place.

The Hornets themselves might look like a pushover at 30-36, but they’re still fighting for a playoff spot, only a game behind the Miami Heat for eighth. In fact, they took down the No. 1 team in the league, the Milwaukee Bucks, on the road just a few days ago. That game also included one of my favorite plays of the season - probably my lifetime.

Is this your MVP?

When the Rockets last faced the Hornets two weeks ago, Houston lost a 15-point lead, went down by as much as 12, and then came back late in the third and early fourth quarter to win the game. I don’t think that’ll be the case this time around.

Even though they had a tough time against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night, Houston has been healthy and in sync. Kenneth Faried is officially returning to the rotation tonight, and we will get to see the Rockets lineup at its strongest this season.