The Houston Rockets are approaching a tough part of their schedule. They have an opportunity to be tested against three of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, capitalized by another MVP moment by James Harden on Thursday night against the Heat. He dropped a much-needed 58 points in a 20+ points comeback by the squad. It’s normally the Rockets that seem to blow leads, but this time, they came back and won.
They are now entering one of the toughest remaining stretches of the regular season, right when they need some wins to move up in the standings. Houston is currently the No. 5 seed in the West, but just a game back of Portland for the No. 4 spot and 1.5 games back of OKC for the No. 3 spot. Those are both very attainable if the Rockets can play to their maximum ability.
Let’s look at the three tough Eastern Conference teams they’ll face this week.
The Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have had an up-and-down season, but have been a disappointment for the most part. They sit with a slightly better record than the Rockets at 38-25 and share the same seed (5). Boston was expected to be the team to make the Finals this year, but those chances look slimmer by the game.
Still, they can go off on any given night. They have a ton of firepower but have chemistry issues at times that causes them to lose. The Rockets beat them earlier in the year in a great game with James Harden and Kyrie Irving going back and forth. Will it be more of the same this time?
The Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors have been neck-and-neck with the Bucks for the best team in the Eastern Conference this year. They are 46-17 and Kawhi Leonard has looked like the best version of himself. Toronto is a dangerous team that can’t be taken lightly. Houston beat them in February without Clint Capela and Chris Paul, somehow, so they’ll look to do the same at almost full strength.
The Raps did the Rockets a favor last night by beating the Trail Blazers. Let’s hope they throw us another bone and lose to Houston for the second time this year.
The Philadelphia 76ers
Another tough opponent for the Rockets will be the Philadelphia 76ers. They crushed the battered Houston squad shortly after Capela went down with an injury. They have steadily improved over the season, adding talent like Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to complement Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Philly currently sits in the fourth seed with a 40-22 record. This will be the third game in a row for the Rockets against strong Eastern Conference teams, let’s hope they hold up and win at least two of them, if not all of them.