Rockets News

Houston Rockets Playoff Race

Mar 18, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (8) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (8) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets race to finish as the 6th, 7th or 8th seed in the West.

With eleven games left in the Houston Rockets 2015-2016 NBA regular season, James Harden and company must treat each game with utmost importance in order to reach the postseason.

Tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz is as critical as any of Houston’s remaining games seeing that the Rockets currently sit at 8th in the West, with the Jazz half a game behind them at 9th. A Rockets loss would forfeit Houston’s position over Utah.

If the Rockets manage to grab a victory tonight, the bad news is that the first half of their remaining ten-game stretch is brutal. Their opponents include Toronto, Indiana, Cleveland, Chicago and Oklahoma City.

After those five games, however, the Rockets schedule is particularly easy, offering them the opportunity to gain momentum going into the postseason should they remain a top eight team in the Western Conference.

Another positive worth noting about the Rockets remaining schedule is that 7 of their 11 games are at home.

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With the way this season has gone, the Rockets simply making the playoffs would be a relief. That being said, as a team that started off the season with hopes of returning to the Western Conference finals, the Rockets have their goals set higher than a first round exit.

In order for the Rockets to make a multi-round playoff run, it is important that they improve to the sixth spot in the West. As of now, Portland owns that spot, sitting a single game above the Rockets in the standings.

If the Rockets manage to eclipse Portland by the end of the season, the Rockets will face an Oklahoma City Thunder team that they have proven they can compete with– winning one game in Houston, and losing two close ones in Oklahoma City.

While it is possible that the Rockets may not make the playoffs this season, of all the teams competing for the bottom three spots, the Rockets have the most potential. And with Memphis battling injuries, I would be willing to bet that Houston is the team the top four seeds would want to face the least.

Despite the loss, tonight's game showed just how important it is that #Rockets get to the 6th seed. They can compete with OKC.

— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) March 23, 2016

In order to give themselves the best chance, the Rockets need to move into the 6th spot in the Western Conference. As dissapointing as their season has been, though, the Rockets should be content with just making the playoffs.

Watch the Houston Rockets fight for the eighth spot tonight as they take on the Utah Jazz at home.

Next: Are these Rockets choke city 2.0?

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