Winners of the Dallas Mavericks (105-82) tonight, the Houston Rockets are the first to validate their ticket for the playoffs to the West. They also took a serious option in the first place of the Conference.
26 points from Eric Gordon, 24 from Chris Paul and voila. The Houston Rockets easily beat the Dallas Mavericks ( 105-82 ) despite the absence of James Harden that night. They have at the same time ensuring their place in the playoffs. Well, there was no suspense. But Texans are the first to officially validate their ticket to the West. With fifteen wins ahead of Utah Jazz, tenth of the conference, they have no chance of being joined.
But this is obviously not the most interesting. The Houston Rockets can aim even higher. With the defeat of the Golden State Warriors tonight ( 103-109 against Minnesota Timberwolves ), they now have one more win and two losses less than the defending champions. All fifteen games from the end of the regular season.
There is therefore very likely that they end the campaign in mind. They will then tackle the playoffs as the first seed in the West. They should also finish with the best NBA record. Which would give them the advantage of the field throughout the playoffs? This is obviously not a title guarantee. But every detail counts.
The Houston Rockets won 32 of the 34 games played by Chris Paul, James Harden, and Chris Capela. They beat the Warriors twice in three duels. But the playoffs is a whole new season that starts. Nevertheless, this team clearly has arguments to make. This is by far the biggest rival (the only one) of Golden State this season.