Houston Rockets: The schedule eases up soon after tough stretch

Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers attempts to block James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers attempts to block James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Thankfully, the schedule for the Houston Rockets in January will ease up a bit after two more tough games. Can they continue to get back towards that coveted No. 1 seed?

The Houston Rockets have been in the midst of a stretch of games against some very good teams. They’ve responded well, even without Chris Paul and partially without Eric Gordon, winning six of seven games since December 22 against the Spurs.

There are many factors to the success recently, but the main reason behind the streak has been the MVP-quality play from James Harden. He’s brought his game to a whole other level and has been incredible, leading to the Player of the Month award for December. In our definitely non-biased opinion (right?), he is the MVP of the league right now if the season ended today.

The role players and budding star have also been incredible, complimenting Harden perfectly. Clint Capela is tearing it up and already has five 20+ rebound games this season, including three 20 point/20 rebound efforts. Players like Danuel House and Gerald Green have brought energy off the bench (or starting) and are knocking down their shots. Austin Rivers, signed a couple days before the Christmas Day victory against the Thunder and has played huge minutes for the team.

Thankfully, though, there are just two games left in this extremely difficult stretch of games. Tomorrow, the Rockets will host the Denver Nuggets, currently in first place in the West. On Wednesday, they’ll play the top team in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks. This stretch certainly doesn’t end easily.

After that, though…

As soon as those games are over, the Rockets will only play three of the remaining ten games of January against teams with a positive record. Of those teams, the Lakers may still be without LeBron James next week, but the Sixers and Raptors will be tough games.

The immediate four games after the Bucks on Wednesday? Vs. CLE, @ORL, vs. MEM, vs. BKN. The Rockets will play seven home games the rest of the month after going undefeated in the Toyota Center during the month of December.

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The Houston Rockets will have a huge opportunity to continue to gain ground in the tough Western Conference standings. They currently sit at 22-16 and fifth in the Conference. If they win the games that they should, that can continue to rise as the team is still focused on getting that top seed.