The Rockets finally got over .500 last night against the Kings, but it sure hasn’t changed much in the big picture. Wins by the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers kept the team from moving up much in the Western Conference playoff picture, and the power rankers were similarly non-plussed about their exploits.
SB Nation: 14 (13)
The best-case scenario in Houston is that Hasheem Thabeet finds a magic potion that allows him to become the second coming of Dikembe, because the Rockets desperately need defensive help in the middle.
ESPN: 16 (17)
With Kevin Martin clicking, their D tightening and a home-heavy schedule? You have to like the Rockets’ chances of cracking the top eight better than fading Utah’s, even if they still haven’t spent a day over .500 yet.
Pro Basketball Talk: 17 (18)
Another scrappy team that is just going to have a hard time catching any of the more talented scrappy teams ahead of them in the playoff chase.
Hollinger: 12 (12)
Add it all up, and the Rockets made it all the way up to 14.75, a grand improvement of 0.25 points of ranking difference. This despite playing their best basketball of the season lately. Tonight should be a statement game for the Rockets as they play the Suns, who are directly ahead of them in the West’s playoff race. If they want some respect, they better go out and earn it.