Any win is a good win, but some games are without a doubt, more important. Games against teams that you're competing with for a playoff spot like the Jazz or a division game against the Grizzlies, just means more than a game against the New York Knicks. Many people, including myself, have criticized the Rockets recently over bad losses to teams like the Warriors and Bucks because, the thought is that the Rockets would have to be nearly perfect against the bad teams to make the playoffs. However, beating teams that you're better than, or taking out the trash, isn't a guarantee. In football, the Texans last season beat the Steelers but lost to the Panthers. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl but got swept by the Redskins; slip-ups happen. The key, is that they win the more important games, the games that can decide tiebreaker scenarios for playoff spots. Over the last two weeks they've beaten the Trailblazers, Nuggets, Jazz, and Grizzlies; all teams that are either in the playoffs as of now or within 2 games of a playoff spot. Between now and March 2nd they have a couple more games against the Jazz and Nuggets; a win against the Jazz would clinch the season tiebreaker.
I wrote last week about the tough stretch of 11 games that the Rockets had coming up, and how it was comparable to the Rockets killer first 10 games in which they went 3-7. So far the Rockets are 3-2 and with 4 home games remaining, have a good chance to finish with a winning record during this 11 game test. Overall, they're now at the halfway mark of the season and at 19-14, they're on pace exactly for my projected win total of 38. If they keep this pace up, it's not impossible for them to have home-court advantage in the 1st round as the 4th seed.