Rockets will win ten in a row
Like most Rocket’s fans, I’ve spent the majority of this first half of the season waiting for the “real” Rockets team to show up. With injuries to T-Mac, Artest, Battier, Rafer, Yao and Luther Head, the Rockets have employed 15 different starting lineups.
But with my first Rockets post of the 08-09 season, I’m predicting that the Rockets are going to rattle off ten wins in a row…at least.
Even though they will have to start the streak anew, after giving the 2nd game of a back to back without Yao to the Knicks (after being up by nine, T-Mac (2o pts) and Artest (11 pts) ran out of gas their 2nd game back in the lineup), it looks like everything is lining up in their favor.
And part of it is the schedule. After tonight’s game in New York, they play 10 of the next 12 at home, and until they see Dallas on Feb. 20 and Cleveland on Feb 26, most of the teams they face are in the lower echelon of the league.
But most of it is that they are finally playing better basketball:
- without McGrady and Artest, they played the Conference leading Lakers a close game, losing by 5 (January 13);
- they beat Boston on the road (January 8);
- they’ve won 5 of 6 since the Lakers defeat;
Remember, this is the team that won 22 games in a row last year, with most of the same personnel…and would have gone deep in the playoffs if Yao had not went down partway through that streak.
And they are a better team this year:
- Artest, now hopefully healthy, gives them toughness and another excellent 1-on-1 defender along with Shane Battier;
- Luis Scola, who is now comfortable with his 2nd season in the NBA, and gives them another option along with Yao around the basket;
- Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks have another year under their belt;
- Von Wafer has come out of nowhere to give them another scoring threat off the bench; if anything the bench is too crowded, with Artest, Landry, Brooks, Wafer, Brent Barry coming off to score and Chuck Hayes and DIKEMBE coming off for defense (along with Artest).
The Lakers play 8 of their next 12 on the road and the Spurs play 10 of their next 11 on the road. The Rockets are still 7.5 games behind the Lakers and 1.5 behind the Spurs. But it looks like they will make up some ground between now and the end of February.