The Rockets have come out of the All-Star break on a four-game win streak, serving notice to the Western Conference that hey, they aren’t technically eliminated yet. They’re just three games out of the playoff picture, and after they get past this game in Portland tonight, they’ll have three more games against weak opponents before they face off against the Suns. What do our power rankers think?
SB Nation: 13 (13)
The Rockets are crawling back into the playoff race, but the loss of Shane Battier won’t help a porous defense. Kyle Lowry needs to prove that he’s worthy of the starting point guard spot, and that he can fit with Kevin Martin.
ESPN: 17 (19)
We’ll get back to the Kev Martin show and Scola’s injury scare soon enough. In the meantime … telephone call for Hakeem Olajuwon. The big man who needs your tutoring more than any other — Thabeet — is now a Rocket.
Pro Basketball Talk: 18 (21)
Goodbye Shane Battier. Goodbye Aaron Brooks. Hello Hasheem Thabeet. Clearly the Rockets are looking to rebuild… then they go win four in a row. They remain a scrappy team that is just hard to play against.
Do the quick math and you’ll get an average ranking of No. 15 for the Rockets, who continue to be as neat and complex as a team that can’t play defense to save it’s life can ever be. If only they were in the Eastern Conference…wait, I say that every year.