Houston Rockets: The Importance Of The Second Seed


Let’s play a game of would you rather.

Would you rather play a defending champion who is playing at the same level that got them a ring, or a declining rival who hasn’t seemed to click? A rival who just so happened to snag one of your most promising prospects in the offseason.

I’m going to assume you watch basketball and picked the latter.

The Rockets have potential to drop out of a home-court seed with a little over a week to go in the regular season, although it’s unlikely. With how they’ve been playing, the second or third seed seem to be what the Rockets will end up with. However, even though it’s just a one-seeded difference, the second seed is much more valuable in this Western Conference, and could be extremely beneficial to the Rockets down the road.

Although Memphis struggling as of late is promising for the second-seed hopes, the Rockets final games ahead aren’t exactly a cakewalk. Beating a desperate Thunder team was a good victory, but the Rockets still have the Spurs twice, the Pelicans, a game at Charlotte, and the once-mocked-now-dreaded Jazz. It’s a gruesome road to that second seed; one that will require close to perfection.

Yet it is crucial to get.

As of now, the Clippers and Spurs are tied for the fifth seed (Clips hold the tie-breaker). The Spurs have a difficult schedule ahead, so it’s hard to imagine them passing the Clippers and their painfully easy games that remain. If I were a gambling man, my money would be on the Spurs keeping the sixth seed. Which isn’t good for the third seed.

I’m not saying you should get nightmares over a first round matchup versus the Spurs but I am saying that you should strongly prefer facing the Mavericks. If you disagree, just watch a few of the Spurs and Mavericks recent games and then talk to me.

Not only would locking up the second seed bode well in terms of playoff matchups, but it could also give James Harden the edge (he deserves) over Stephen Curry. Being the best player on the best team is a strong arguing pointn but if Harden were to lead the Rockets to the second seed in the final stretch with his best teammate finally healthy, how can you not vote for The Beard?

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The regular season is almost over but this last week could perhaps be the most important for the Rockets. A matchup against a struggling Mavs team is a gift in this Western Conference, and the longer you can wait to face the Warriors/Grizz/Spurs the better.

And for Harden, being able to beat the Grizzlies for the second seed in the final stretch with a (relatively) healthy team is a strong bullet point on the MVP resume.

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