Power Rankings Roundup
Join us every Monday as we go around the web to see where the Rockets rank!
NBA.COM - 3rd - The Rockets aren't moving up in the standings, but have won seven of their last eight games and improved to 3-1 against their most likely first round opponent with Sunday's easy win over the Thunder. It will be interesting to see if Mike D'Antoni rests anybody or at least extends his rotation over the final nine games. Ryan Anderson is out two weeks with an ankle injury and, without his starting power forward on Sunday, D'Antoni played just eight guys. Even if James Harden's wrist is OK (he fell on it in the fourth quarter), he would probably need Andrew Wiggins (up 15 minutes with an additional game remaining) to take a couple of days off for Harden to lead the league in total minutes for a third straight season.
SI.COM - 2nd - James Harden banged up his wrist in a win over Oklahoma City on Sunday, just in time for two games against the Warriors and a date with the surging Blazers this week. He says he’s fine. Let us hope so.
ESPN.COM - 3rd - The 3-point line Nate Archibald did not have has certainly helped James Harden in this quest, but he's just five points away from becoming the first player in NBA history to score at least 2,000 points and assist on 2,000 points in a single season. And for those of you deeply bothered by the NBA's rest phenomenon, something tells us it'll also please you to hear that Harden (as well as Russell Westbrook) is on course to play all 82 games. No NBA MVP has played all 82, believe it or not, since Kobe Bryant in 2007-08. Everyone will be talking about how tough this week's schedule is for the Warriors, but it's certainly no picnic for Houston, either, thanks to three games in four days and two of them coming against the West leaders. Harden has averaged 23.0 PPG, 12.0 APG and 10.5 RPG in the teams' first two meetings but also struggled from the 3-point line (2-for-16) and with turnovers (14) in the two games.
CBSSPORTS.COM - 4th - Houston's going to have a dilemma. They are going to be locked into the 3-seed by the end of next week (magic number for Spurs top-two is four, magic number for Rockets no-worse-than-third is three). They haven't rested guys all year, and they have James Harden's MVP candidacy to consider. But there's going to come a time in the near future where they literally have nothing to play for other than momentum and love of the game. Tough call.