With just a couple of months left before the playoffs arrive, the pecking order in the Western Conference is far from set. Outside of the Los Angeles Lakers, who have a strong hold on the number one spot, the standings could like very different every week. Only five games separate the second seed from the seventh seed. The Houston Rockets are sitting 2.5 games away from the second seed and while they’re nowhere close to the Lakers, team owner Tilman Fertitta doesn’t seem concerned.
“None of us fear L.A. (the Lakers) or the Clippers or Denver like we feared Golden State,” Fertitta told Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman. “It’s not like how we were scared of them.”
The Golden State Warriors of the past few seasons were loaded beyond belief. It makes sense why the Rockets, and many other teams, feared them. They seemingly had no weakness. However, the Lakers and Clippers aren’t to be trifled with. The Lakers possibly have the best duo in the NBA with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Clippers might have the strongest roster in the NBA and are also led by an incredible duo. It would be unwise for the Rockets to underestimate those two teams.
Rockets Could ‘Easily’ Win the West
The Rockets are 1-1 against the Lakers this season and 2-1 against the Clippers, so it’s easy to understand why their owner isn’t scared of them. Fertitta doesn’t think it’ll be as hard to take the crown in the West as some might think.
“We could easily win the West this year or get knocked out in the first round,” Fertitta said. “Both L.A. teams, Denver, Houston, we’re all excellent teams. Just comes down to somebody gets hot and makes a shot.
“Our chances are as good as they’ve ever been.”
The Rockets have been really close to getting over the hump and making it to the NBA Finals over the last several years. Their best chance came in 2017-2018 when they almost dethroned the Warriors, but failed in game seven. Now that Golden State is completely out of the picture this year, the Rockets could finally have a chance.
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Can the Rockets Beat the Lakers in a 7 Game Series?
The Rockets have a strong duo of their own in James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The two players are high volume scorers and it’s going to be difficult for a defense to stop them if they’re hot. However, their biggest disadvantage is going to be how small their lineup is. They recently made history by having their tallest player be 6-foot-6 in a game.
That brings us to the Lakers. How are the Rockets possibly going to stop Anthony Davis if they don’t have size? The simple answer is that they cannot. Davis is in the midst of a season where he could get serious MVP consideration. He will eat them alive like he did the one time he played against them this season. Their addition of Robert Covington will help slow LeBron James down, but they need to find an answer for Davis if they hope to get out of the West.