Following an impressive win over Utah on Saturday evening, the Houston Rockets shot up four spots to No. 14 overall in the latest batch of NBA power rankings from SB Nation.
The Rockets have now won four of their last five games to pull even at 8-8 on the season, and continue to pick up inspired performances from shooting guard James Harden. Aside from a frustrating night against his former team in Oklahoma City last Wednesday, the 23-year-old Harden is averaging 23.0 points and 7.8 assists per game over his last four contests. Though he is turning the ball over more than four times per night on average, Harden's scoring ability has routinely opened up opportunities for his teammates to exploit when double teams arrive.
Despite being slotted behind a number of other Western Conference contenders at this time last week, the Rockets ranked above both the Los Angeles Lakers (No. 15) and Denver Nuggets (No. 16) in the latest update. Houston remains the highest-ranked team currently sporting a .500 record, with both the Chicago Bulls (8-7, No. 10) and Milwaukee Bucks (8-7, No. 12) each well within reach for Kelvin Sampson's team.