Bubble Preview: Houston Rockets

Record: 40-24

Championship Odds: +1300

Key Players
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 29: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets reacts during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on February 29, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Rockets defeat the Celtics 111-110 in overtime. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

James Harden: 34.4 PPG, 6.4 REB, 7.4 AST. 1.7 STL, 0.9 BLK

Russell Westbrook: 27.5 PPG, 8.0 REB, 7.0 AST, 1.7 STL

Westbrook did not travel to the bubble with the team because he had tested positive for COVID-19. Westbrook is feeling good and will be joining his teammates as soon as he can.

Eric Gordon: 14.5 PPG, 1.9 REB, 1.5 AST

Robert Covington: 12.8 PPG, 7.9 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.1 STL, 2.5 BLK

PJ Tucker: 7.1 PPG, 6.9 REB, 1.6 AST, 1.1 STL

Players Out

Thabo Sefolosha: 2.2 PPG, 2.3 REB, 0.6 AST

Bubble Preview:

The Houston Rockets enter the bubble as the 6th seed in the West. With eight games remaining on their schedule they can move up to as high as the second seed, or could drop to the seventh.

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When evaluating the Rockets roster you have to look no further than the superstar backcourt tandem of James Harden and Russell Westbrook to know that they have a chance at the finals. Both former league MVPs, Harden and Westbrook lead the charge for the Rockets. Before the league suspension, Westbrook had been playing what may have been the best basketball of his career. Pair that with an AVERAGE night for James Harden and you’ve got yourself a bunch of wins down the stretch.

When the Rockets decided to trade away their young center, Clint Capela, they did so with the idea that they would play “small ball” going forward. The Rockets current “center” is PJ Tucker who stands in at just 6-foot-5. Their small ball lineup makes them the ultimate wildcard for the stretch run, but will it prevail?

Ultimately, I am not a fan of the Rockets small ball lineup. I think that matching up with Western Conference big men such as Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, and Kristaps Porzingis will be to difficult of a task for the Rockets ‘bigs’. Do I think the Rockets will make some noise? Yes, of course. They have an electric backcourt who will win them several games in the bubble, but without anyone to anchor the paint, the Rockets are not a Championship threat.

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