Can the Rockets Make the Post Season?

When you play as well as the Rockets have without a discernible superstar your chances of making the post season should be pretty good.

Since the All-Star break the Houston Rockets has been one of the best teams in the NBA winning 13 and losing five (through Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia). The problem that Houston may face is that it could be too little too late.

The Rockets have spent the bulk of the season under .500 and far removed from playoff contention. While they have been great all season at producing offensively, averaging close to 106 points a game (third in the league), they have had trouble stopping the other team from scoring. They have allowed 104 points per game, ninth highest in the league.

When you score as much as the Rockets, but allow as much as they do what you end up getting is a lot of high scoring, close games. In games decided by three points or less the Rockets are 7-7. Whenever they scored over 100 points they have won 28 and lost 22, but when the opposing team scores 100 or more they have only won 16 and lost 32.

The game against the 76ers is a perfect example of what has befallen the Rockets for much of the year. They were doing well going into the final quarter, done by a point, but then the offense went cold and the defense was not able to pick up the slack.

"We got away from how we've been playing the last couple months," Rockets guard Kevin Martin said. "We didn't play as a team down the stretch. That's what happens; you lose.’’

Head coach Rick Adelman has another take on what happened in the final quarter.

"I just thought we ran out of gas in the fourth quarter, missed a lot of easy opportunities, and they made shots in the fourth quarter."

After 75 games their record stands at 39-36, three games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  With just seven games to play it is not a likely deficit to overcome, but not an impossible one.

They will basically need to win out to have the best chance possible. Whether Houston makes the post season this year could come down to the health of some of the post season teams (San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans, and Atlanta) and whether they choose to rest people with their position all but locked up.

The lack of health for one of the Grizzlies top players could help the Rockets in. Recently Memphis lost David West for the season due to an ACL injury. However, the Grizzlies have won both games since losing West and only play two post season bound teams in their final seven games.

“We have to win every game from here on out,” guard Kyle Lowry said. “It’s simple as that for us.” 
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