The Houston Rockets could get off to a hot start.
Last year, the Houston Rockets struggled to find a rhythm out of the gates.
By the end of November they had an 11-7 record. All signs pointed to a middle of the pack playoff team.
On December 1, 2016, Houston defeated the Golden State Warriors in a double overtime thriller. The win kicked off a 10-game win-streak as Houston rocketed to a 26-9 record by the beginning of January. The Rockets finished the season with a 55-27 record, the third best in the league.
In the upcoming season, the Rockets should get off to a better start. The NBA has recently released the full schedule for each team, and the beginning of the season should swing the Rocket’s way.
The Rockets should start hot.
Houston kicks off the season facing the defending champion Warriors on October 17, but the competition becomes less fierce in the following games. The Rockets play Sacramento the following night, before returning home for a duel with the Mavericks and Grizzlies. Houston’s top competition in the next seven games are the Philadelphia 76ers, who wouldn’t make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
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On November 9, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a reservation in Houston for a high-scoring showdown. Then, the Rockets face the Grizzlies and Pacers in a back-to-back, before taking on the Raptors in Houston.
The Rockets face the Suns in Phoenix on November 16, and its smooth sailing from there. Now we’re at December 15 taking on San Antonio, and out of the previous ten games, our toughest competition has probably been the Denver Nuggets.
The Spurs will be Houston’s 27th game of the year. If we assume that the Rockets lose to the Warriors, Cavs, Spurs and a few random games in between, the Rockets could win 25 of their first 30 games.
Every NBA team's SOS by month. Sixers have it really rough to start the year. Toughest SOS in Oct/Nov and Jan. pic.twitter.com/eGpjLfFjBn
— Yaya Dubin (@JADubin5) August 15, 2017
As you can see from the chart above, the Rockets have one of the easiest schedules in October and November. The Spurs, Clippers, Bucks, Thunder, Celtics and Wizards will challenge the Rockets in December, but the schedule opens up again in January.
The Warriors and Spurs will also have a fairly easy schedule to begin the year. Although the Spurs have the second and third most difficult schedule in February and March. The Rockets’ schedule is much more forgiving in those months, and that’s where Houston can really separate from San Antonio in the standings.
If the Rockets take care of the weaker parts in their schedule, Houston will have the second best record by the All-Star break.