Mar 27, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is congratulated by guard James Harden (13) and teammates during a Minnesota Timberwolves timeout in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 120 to 110. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Power Rank Week 22:
The race to make the playoffs is already in full effect, however there are also inner battles within the seeded teams as they look to capture home court or maneuver to face a preferred opponent. In fact, we might even see some teams looking beyond the first round as they try to align with a second round rival in an effort to avoid the other option.
At this time of year the battles become a daily watch as seeds shuffle up and down, sometimes by as much as three positions following a single loss or victory. The outcome of season series also becomes relevant as tie-break situations are determined imparting further pressure.
For example Oklahoma City already knows they must not only capture eighth, but do so with at least a full game on New Orleans. Since the Pelicans won the season series they’ve also won the tie-break should the teams end up dead locked.
The common denominator for the currently seeded teams and ones on the periphery chasing the final slots is building to the perfect crescendo.
A perfect balance of health and on court flow is the desired result for April 15th. I liken it to an Olympic athlete or a boxer who trains to reach their peak precisely at the moment of their big event.
Like recent seasons the plethora of activity over the final two and a half weeks offers a peek into early playoff-type basketball.
That’s great for the fans especially this season with the East actually having as many internal races as the West, albeit with a dearth of winning records. To that end, let’s take a look at the Rockets rank and my top ten.
[table id=46 /]
Next: The National Lists