We’re firmly in the danger zone now.
Houston: 18 wins
Detroit: 19 wins
Orlando: 20 wins
Oklahoma City: 20 wins
The Thunder do play both Detroit and Orlando, so there are at least two wins remaining for those teams. But that might be it. OKC is on a 10-game losing streak and appears primed to lose out. Detroit’s only win in their last seven games came against Orlando.
Sacramento and Indiana have 25 wins apiece, but Houston is unlikely to win enough games for that to matter...is what I thought, until the last 24-48 hours unfolded poorly for Houston fans.
Houston plays the Portland Trail Blazers two more times this season. The Blazers have shut down Damian Lillard for the season.
Houston plays the Sacramento Kings two more times this season. The Kings have shut down Richaun Holmes, and are currently playing without Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. They still hate that in Houston’s 66-win season, the Rockets rested their rotation players in Game 82, handing Sacramento a win and moving them back in the lottery standings.
Houston’s remaining games come against teams in the playoffs or fighting for a play-in spot. They play Atlanta on the last day of the season, and by then the Hawks could be eliminated and not care about the result. The Rockets also play Toronto in their penultimate games, but Toronto may also be locked into the 7 seed at that point and may not play their regulars either.
That brings us to tonight, where the Dallas Mavericks, who are 78-2 with Spencer Dinwiddie (all stats approximate, but still true), will be sitting everyone. Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Davis Bertans are all out tonight. The Rockets have to hope that Dinwiddie and Dwight Powell go nuclear, because a win tonight throws Houston back into the much. This is going to be the toughest coaching stretch of Stephen Silas’s career, make no mistake.
Tip-off is at 7:30pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest