During their winning streak, five players have averaged at least 13 points per game. With Dwight Howard and James Harden leading a balanced attack, players like Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lin all have thrived in this winning streak. With their seventh straight victory, the Rockets are showing everyone in the NBA why they are among the best contenders for an NBA championship. The problem right now is that the All-Star break will halt the Rockets’ momentum going into the second half of the season.
Much like any good winning streak, not continuing to play will hurt any team’s chances to maintain their edge. The more time a team has off, the more time they will spend believing their own hype and losing sight of their goal at the end of the season. The Rockets are currently second in the Southwest Division behind the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs. If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would be the 5th seed in the West. The upcoming trade deadline will further delay the momentum that the Rockets have created, as Omer Asik is rumored to be traded due to his dislike of the Howard signing.
The Rockets cruised out of the gates in the first four minutes against the Wizards, taking an early 17-5 advantage. As is customary of the Rockets this season, they let their foot off the pedal and allowed the Wizards to hang around and gave up a 19-point third quarter lead. In a thrilling finish, the Rockets were able to pull the game out late on a game-winning layup by Harden. Harden had 35 points and Howard had 24 to lead the Rockets, who will have seven days off then Howard returns to the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since his departure this past summer.