With the chances of finishing in the top 3 in the Western Conference slipping away after losses to the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers in games where the Rockets waited too long to show up, Houston must now look to solidify their spot in the top 4 of the Western Conference with Utah, Oklahoma City, and Dallas all breathing down their necks.
The Charlotte Hornets would seem to be a good game to get back on track, but the Hornets have been making life difficult for good teams lately. After winning in Toronto, the Hornets have lost to the Bucks, Spurs, and Nuggets, all by single digits. Right now, Charlotte is 6 games back of Orlando for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and probably out of time. Still, they can play spoiler and the Rockets have proven that they can lose to anyone, especially on the road.
Furthermore, today’s game is an early tip, which bodes poorly for the Rockets as they have historically been a slow-starting team even in primetime games. So if the Rockets start out slow once again, they could find themselves facing a third straight defeat and suddenly be a game away from falling to seventh place in the West.
Tip-off is at 4pm CT