Heading into the last 15 games of the season, the Rockets are in pretty good shape to keep the No. 1 seed in the West.
The Houston Rockets sit currently with a 2 game lead in the standings against the Warriors for the first seed in the tough Western Conference. If you would have said that this would happen before the season, many of the “experts” would have called you crazy.
Not only do the Rockets hold a 2 game lead, they have the intent and ability to keep it. They also may receive a bit of help via the injury bug for Golden State.
Let’s discuss these reasons as to why the Rockets are in good shape heading down the stretch into the last 15 games.
The injuries of Golden State
The Warriors have a case of the injuries right now. 3 out of their 4 All-Stars are dealing with some sort of injury and so are multiple role players.
Steph Curry has a hurt ankle right now. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. He’s been dealing with it most of the season and tweaked it once more against the Spurs on March 8. Steph is expected to miss at least 4 more games and then he’ll be re-evaluated.
Klay Thompson is the newest injury for the Warriors. He fractured his thumb last game against the Timberwolves. He also will be re-evaluated next week, but he definitely could miss a longer period of time.
Draymond Green is the next victim of the injury bug. He will not play at least tonight with a sore shoulder and we’ll see if it is more than a one-game absence tomorrow.
As for role players, David West and Patrick McCaw are both out for at least a game or so. The Warriors are usually pretty careful with their role players, so we’ll have to see if they stay out longer. Andre Iguodala is another name who’s dealing with an injury, but he has been cleared to play tonight.
While the Warriors are certainly capable of playing well without some of these players, this may cause them to lose a few more games during the regular season.
The desire of the Rockets
The Rockets have made it quite known that they want that No. 1 seed. Earlier in the month, Eric Gordon was quoted by Mark Berman during the winning streak:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 4, 2018
That seems to be the general mood in the Rockets’ locker room. They really want that home court advantage in a potential matchup against the powerhouse Warriors.
It would also certainly be nice to see someone besides Golden State take the top seed in the West.
There is definitely still work to be done, though. The No. 1 seed is earned, not given. It will take a combination of 15 wins by the Rockets or losses by the Warriors for them to get that top spot (not accounting for the extremely small chance any of other team comes back and takes the No. 1 seed).