Despite losing 3 games in a row to teams nipping at their heels for the last playoff spot in the West, the Rockets still control their own fate. They're currently the 8th seed but have just a 1 game lead on the Suns, a 1 1/2 game lead on the Jazz, and lose the tie-breaker to both teams. All this being said, it's still possible for them to move all the way up to the 6th spot with games against both teams that they trail (Denver and Dallas) coming up next.
Key stats to watch over down the stretch; rebounding and 3-pointers made. The Rockets have shot 18-65 (27%) from behind the arc during their 3 game losing streak; they can't win shooting below 30 percent. During the losing streak, they've also lost the rebound battle in every game. Watch those stats; if they hit their 3's and rebound well, they'll win.
Their next two games are the most crucial and will likely decide their season. If they win both, they're a lock to make the playoffs; if they lose both, it's over. A split will keep them alive with 3 games against New Orleans and Golden State coming up; but I wouldn't like their odds. If they do miss the playoffs, they'll have no one to blame but themselves after losing home games to Phoenix and Utah last week. It was right there in their grasp, and they let it go.