The Houston Rockets are knee-deep in a chase for their post season lives.
Houston is currently the seventh ranked team in the Western Conference. The team needs every win that it can get, but unfortunately their match-up against the Los Angelos Lakers tonight is not conducive to an easy win.
With 12 games remaining, and several teams on their heels Houston cannot afford to give away any games. There is practically no margin for error at this point. But that pressure is a good thing. It means that you matter in the scope of the Western Conference. It means that you have an opportunity to make a splash in post-season play.
Though the team’s ceiling is not much higher than their current performance, that will have to do for Rockets fans for the foreseeable future. There is no impending deal involving a top-level free-agent who will ride in on a white horse and rescue the city from mediocrity.
So the question is:
As currently constructed, can the Rockets win a playoff series?
Obviously a lot is still to be determined in terms of seeding.
So purely based on speculation I believe that, out of the probable match-ups, The San Antonio Spurs are a decent match-up. Houston could give the Spurs a tough series. They have an outside shot at winning.
If the Rockets and Spurs both play to the best of their abilities, the Spurs will win.
And if the Rockets do not get healthy, i.e. Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry returning, they have no chance.
The Rockets are a team that can win against every team in the league if they are firing on all cylinders, however the team has a lot of cylinders that need to be greased.
In order to pull off an upset of the Spurs, Houston would need epic performances from Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola that would rival those of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
The biggest factor in that would be father-time.
A long series could wear down Duncan and possibly Mano Ginobli, who has had his share of injury issues over the course of his career.
Marcus Camby’s presence will aid as well. He could, in spurts, hold Duncan and take the defensive pressure off of Scola, allowing Scola to focus his energy on the offensive end.
The Rockets advantage, in my opinion, is the bench-assuming their top players return from injury.
Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Patrick Patterson are a formidable combination from the pine.
All in all, the Spurs combination of offensive and experience should be too much for the Rockets to handle. But with a little luck the Rockets could win.
At the very least, if the standings hold, the Rockets will give fans a long and entertaining series.