Game Day: Houston Rockets Look to Sting Hornets and Climb Ladder

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Apr 2, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a free throw during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Rockets defeated the Mavericks 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Pick:

The odds makers have Houston as huge favorites to win on Monday regardless of being without Dwight Howard (rest), on the road and in their second game of a back-to-back. They are 10.5 point favorites.

It’s hard to disagree given Charlotte hasn’t had much time to process the fact they’ve been eliminated from post season play and Houston still have the potential to win the Southwest Division and/or move up to a higher seed.  With the Spurs on their current 11-game win streak and just one game versus New Orleans remaining its likely San Antonio will win the division. There is still a possibility for the Rockets to surpass the Spurs to win the Southwest Division if San Antonio lose their last game and Houston win their final two games.

Prior to the games Saturday I looked at each of the teams sitting second through six, who they were playing and their likely final seeding. So far, I’m 100% accurate, so I’ll hope the rest of my predictions come true as it would mean Houston would get home court in the first round.

Here’s the break down.

San Antonio 55-26:  beat Phoenix  Sunday and have one game versus New Orleans remaining Wednesday.

Clippers 54-26: beat Memphis Saturday, play the Nuggets tonight and finish at Phoenix Tuesday

Portland: will be the four seed but have lost home court

Memphis 54-26: lost to Clippers Saturday, play in Golden State tonight and finish at home to the Pacers on Wednesday

Houston 54-26: play Charlotte tonight and finish at home to Utah Wednesday.

There are several possibilities for how the 2-6 seeds can finish:

  • Memphis can win the division if they end up with an identical record with either the Spurs or Rockets because they hold the best conference win percentage of the 3 teams.
  • Houston chances of winning the division depend on winning their final 2 games, the Spurs losing their final game and Memphis losing at least one of their final two games.
  •  The Clippers hold a 2-2 record with all 3-teams. The highest they can finish is third because the Southwest Division winner will get the second seed. They also hold the best conference and division winning percent. The only way they fall below third is if any of the other 3 teams (and the one who doesn’t win the division) finish with one more win than the Clippers.
  • Memphis holds a better conference record than the Rockets so Houston have to win one additional game to finish higher.

As I highlighted in my article What Playoff Seed Will the Rockets Get?  I anticipated the Spurs, Clippers and Rockets to win out and Memphis to lose two games (Clippers/Golden State).

Bottom line the picture will be much clearer following Memphis and Houston’s games tonight. Golden State won’t want to go into the playoffs giving Memphis any confidence and on top of that Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Jeff Green are all questionable to play. It’s added incentive for Houston to win and push their way past the Grizzlies which is what I believe will occur.

My prediction for the final West Seeding is:

  • Golden State
  • San Antonio
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Portland (without home court)
  • Houston
  • Memphis
  • Dallas
  • New Orleans (if Westbrook technical upheld: OKC if it isn’t)

For the full break down click the box below:

Next: Predicted Playoff Seeding

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