The Houston Rockets went 4-0 for the week (last Monday-Sunday), beating the Heat, Magic, Pacers, and the Trail Blazers. This week’s average rank for these publications is 2.35, while last week it was 5.38. Since these power rankings come out throughout the day on Monday, our national power rankings post will come out early Tuesday every week.
Note: National power rankings don’t take into account any of Monday’s NBA action
ESPN (Marc Stein)
Ranked – 1 | Last Week – 6
The Rockets, in case you missed it, were the 10th team this season to have a crack at playing the Heat and the Pacers during the same week … and the first of those 10 to win both games. Now let’s see how far Houston can take its 15-2 surge with road games looming in OKC, Chicago and Miami.
I desperately wanted to put them No. 1 after knocking off Miami and Indiana inside of a week. But the Spurs have the best record in the league, and Houston needing overtime vs. Portland was just enough. They’re riiiiight there for No. 1, though.
Yahoo Sports (Marc J. Spears)
Ranked – 2 | Last Week – 4
Houston has won five straight games with a big test atOklahoma City on Tuesday. Houston is only two games behind the Thunder.
NBA.com (John Schuhmann)
Ranked – 2 | Last Week – 5
Pace: 98.2 (7), OffRtg: 108.1 (5), DefRtg: 102.1 (9), NetRtg: +6.0 (6)
Not only do the Rockets have the league’s best record (23-6) since Jan. 1, but they’ve won seven of their last nine games against teams currently above .500 after knocking off the Heat, Pacers and Blazers last week. Suddenly, they’re just two games behind the Thunder for the 2 seed, with two head-to-head matchups (one on Tuesday) remaining. Their schedule eases up next week.
This week: @ OKC, @ CHI, @ MIA
Sports Illustrated (Matt Dollinger)
Ranked – 3 | Last Week – 6
Houston took down the best the East has to offer last week, sinking Indiana and Miami. The victories served as the latest reminder that the Rockets are legitimate title contenders … until they offered up yet another one by rallying behind James Harden and Jeremy Lin to outlast Portland in overtime Sunday.
USA Today (combination of writers)
Ranked – 5 | Last Week – 6
Dwight Howard took one look Friday at Roy Hibbert and decided to remind everyone who the NBA’s best center is.
ProBasketballTalk (Kurt Helin)
Ranked – 3 | Last Week – 6
We said the Rockets would get tested this week. Well, they beat the Heat, Pacers and Trail Blazers. That’s pretty much acing your test. More to come with the Thunder, Bulls and Heat on the road this week, but the fact is Houston has looked like a legit contender the past week. James Harden averaged 30.3 ppg in those three big wins last week. He’s pretty good.
Basketball Insiders (Moke Hamilton)
Ranked – 1 | Last Week – 3
A hard-fought battle and even tougher week has the Rockets atop the NBA’s mountain. One of the toughest weeks saw the Dwight’s team top the HEAT, obliterate the Pacers and outlast the Blazers on Sunday. They’re 23-6 in 2014 and have the depth required of a team hoping that expects to make a long postseason run. Last Week: 3-1
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