In the NBA, success is all about being hot at the right time. Last season the LA Clippers followed up mediocre months in February and March to end with seven successive victories on their way to the playoffs.
This year the Houston Rockets, while perhaps not considered one of the real contenders in the Western Conference, are coming into form at just the right time.
Prior to their defeat last night against what is a very good LA Clippers team, the Rockets held the best record in the NBA from January 1st.
Houston now sit four games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 5th seed in the conference.
The Western side of the NBA is by far the most competitive right now, with just 9.5 games separating 8th from 1st and 10 teams who could realistically make the postseason.
Houston have not been considered as one of the main contenders for the Western crown with the Clippers, Thunder and San Antonio Spurs the favorites to compete for a place in the finals this year.
However, on the back of this impressive run experts may now have to accept that Houston can make a real run at the postseason this year.
Much was made of Dwight Howard’s move to the Rockets last year with the LA Lakers reportedly keen on keeping the big man but his signing could well have pushed the Rockets over the edge as a contender.
Along with the acquisition of James Harden two years ago and with valuable role players such as Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin , there is no reason to believe that the Rockets couldn’t hold their own against a top seed during a playoff series.
In fact they’re already competing with the best in the league: James Harden is averaging 24.5 points per game, only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love have more.
Dwight Howard is fourth in the league in rebounding and according to NBA stats; Harden is also the fifth most clutch player in the league.
Between Harden and Howard the Rockets have the prolific scoring and inside help that some contenders can only dream of.
Sitting on the fifth seed currently, Houston have the title of the team you don’t want to play in the playoffs.
They have a 22-7 record at home, where they simply just don’t get beat very often and have already beaten the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers and Spurs this season.
Of course there is still a lot of basketball to be played and with superstars such as Kevin Durant and Chris Paul operating in the conference it will certainly be an interesting conclusion to the