The Houston Rockets entered the season as one of the teams everybody wanted to watch. They paired James Harden with Russell Westbrook once again and, while some thought they'd be a time bomb, others considered them legit Championship contenders.
The Rockets have had plenty of ups and downs throughout the season but both of their stars have performed at an elite level. Even so, there were still plenty of doubters given their history of underperforming in the playoffs.
In fact, the Rockets were betting underdogs for both of their contests in the Orlando bubble and they responded by coming back late to beat both the Dallas Mavericks and the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks. Those were huge statement wins as we approach the postseason.
That's why James Harden thinks that the time they had to prepare before the resumption of the season, as well as the scrimmage games they went through, were more than enough to take their chemistry to an all-time high when it mattered most:
“Yeah, I think we’re comfortable now. I think with that training camp, we’re in a good place. We found ourselves," Harden told The Athletic.
Harden and Westbrook combined for 80 points, 20 rebounds, and 16 assists vs. the Mavericks and followed that effort by combining for 55 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 dimes vs. the Bucks; proving again that they can take the best teams in the league night in and night out.
As of today, the Rockets hold the 4th seed in the Western Conference, meaning they'd match up vs. the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
Even if they are the shortest team in the league (in height) and they'll likely have some trouble keeping Rudy Gobert - and every talented big man in the league - there's no reason to think the Rockets aren't a legit threat out of the Western Conference.