On Tuesday night, the Houston Rockets lost a tough game to one of the top two teams in the Western Conference. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook delivered a big blow in the Rockets’ hopes of climbing up a spot in the standings as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Houston, 106-98. Now the Rockets sit three games behind the Thunder for the second seed in the West and four games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the top spot.
“I think if we just stick to what we do and do it the best of our abilities, no matter what’s going on, we’ll be good,” James Harden told ESPN. “Sometimes we could of veer off, kind of get distracted a little bit.”
After such a tough loss, the Rockets could not have asked for a better upcoming schedule. Kevin McHale’s team has a quick opportunity to rebuild any mojo it may have lost.
It starts Thursday night as the Rockets will pay a visit to a very tough Chicago Bulls team. Houston definitely has a lot more talent with Harden, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons leading the way. However, Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls team is anything but a pushover. With Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler at the helm, this is a tough defensive-minded team that makes you work for 48 minutes.
Next up for the Rockets will be a trip to play the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon. LeBron James and the Heat have struggled of late but could still regain their form at any moment in the season. James is still the best player in the NBA. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are both having terrific seasons. The Rockets recently defeated the Heat, 106-103, in Houston on Mar. 4. This rematch has all the makings for what could be a terrific regular season showdown.
If Harden and Howard could lead the Rockets to victories in both of those games, Houston will be right back on track to competing for a higher standing in the West.
The schedule lightens up for Houston following their tilt with the Heat. They have five straight games against opponents who are currently out of the NBA playoff picture. The Rockets will have the chance to refuel a bit while potentially gaining ground on the Thunder, Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.
It certainly won’t be easy, but the Rockets can still move up in the Western Conference standings. Their upcoming schedule is the perfect opportunity for them to regain their form.