The Houston Rockets are in the midst of their best stretch of basketball this season. The team is enjoying a five-game winning streak that they will carry into the month of February and have started to gel on and off the court.
With a 9-9 record the Rockets sit in the 10th spot in the Western Conference and have a real shot to shoot up the standings and solidify their playoff hopes. If the Rockets are going to make the playoffs, for the ninth consecutive season, it all hinges on how they weather their schedule’s February storm.
Over the course of the shortest month of the year, the Rockets are set to play 16 games. It should be noted that 2021 is not a leap year, which means the Rockets will play four more games than they’ll have days off over the course of the month.
On top of the jam-packed schedule, the Rockets are also set to play 10 of the 16 games on the road and their only extended stay in the city of Houston will last from February 19th to February 22nd. This scheduling gauntlet will put a strain on the entire roster’s physical and mental well-being and could prove to make or break their season.
A look at the Rockets upcoming opponents
The only saving grace is that the Rockets’ actual opponents are not nearly as grueling as their schedule is. As of today, their February slate of opponents have gone a combined 118-130 on the season, which grades out to a .476 win percentage.
Their toughest opponents, based upon record are the 14-6 Philadelphia 76ers, the 11-9 San Antonio Spurs, and the 11-8 Indiana Pacers. While their easiest opponents are the 3-12 Washington Wizards, the 7-12 Toronto Raptors, and the 7-12 Miami Heat.
The Raptor and Heat are both teams who are likely better than their record but the opposite can be said of the 9-10 Cleveland Cavaliers, the 8-10 Oklahoma City Thunder, and the 9-11 New York Knicks.
If the Rockets are able to come out of the month with a winning record they’ll be in a good position to make a playoff push. They avoid any of the top teams in the Western Conference and the only true title contender they’ll have to face is the 76ers.
February might be the shortest month on the calendar but it looks like the longest one on the Rockets’ schedule. How the Rockets finish the season in May will come down to how they handle the month of February.