The Houston Rockets are the NBA’s best team by only one game. Rockets MVP candidate, James Harden, has led his team to a 17-game winning streak. Seen in the feature image, Harden tells teammate Clint Capela that they’re going streaking.
Okay, that’s not really what he said, but the way that Harden and the Rockets have been playing has inspired many other teams to streak as well.
Rockets and their conference rival, Golden State Warriors will likely finish as two of the top three teams in the NBA, but it’ll come down to who streaks the most down the stretch of the final month of the season.
As many teams are battling for a position in the playoff hunt, the race is closer than ever, and the spots between the three to eight seeds are even closer.
Toronto Raptors continue to hold the top spot with their 6-game winning streak and have clinched a playoff spot with their most recent win on Wednesday Night. Making them the first team to clinch the playoffs so far this season.
The Boston Celtics (2.0 games back) are looking to start their own streak and catch the Raptors.
LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers up and down win-loss record keeps them in the third spot and are 9.0 games back from the Raptors.
But all the teams from four to eight are just 3.5 games apart from each other and the Cavaliers.
The Indiana Pacers are currently fourth in the East and have a 3-game winning streak going until their recent loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
The Washington Wizards were previously fourth, but have now fallen to fifth after losing three straight games. Wizards snapped that streak in a win on Tuesday night. But playing without All-Star John Wall could be a bit of a challenge.
The Philadelphia 76ers are in the sixth spot, and they have learned to trust the process and got themselves a nice 6-game winning streak to push them ahead of Milwaukee and Miami at the moment. The Sixers are starting a new streak and heading in the right direction.
With the Rockets in front by one game, the Warriors aren’t even stressing. They, themselves have won six straight games and are looking down on the Rockets laughing.
Both the Warriors and the Rockets streaked their way to a 12-game lead in the standings.
Realistically no team in the West will be able to catch them, but let’s look at what’s going on around them.
The closest team is the Portland Trail Blazers who have turned an 8-game winning streak into the third spot in the West.
But like the Cavaliers, the teams behind them are just 4 games apart from each other and the Blazers.
This goes for the fourth seed New Orleans Pelicans who are currently on a 10-game win streak led by potential MVP candidate Anthony Davis.
The San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Denver Nuggets have all fallen back in the standings, but barely holding onto the playoff spots.
The Clippers somehow traded away Blake Griffin and are still in the playoff hunt. Though they haven’t been streaking lately, Doc Rivers is proving why his job should not be on the line. Just make sure not to let Wesley Johnson try to guard James Harden again.
The 10th seed Utah Jazz was a surprise team last year and are looking to sneak into the playoffs with the current 4-game winning streak.
The 11th seed Los Angeles Lakers won five straight games for the first time this season on Saturday but failed to continue it against the Blazers on Monday Night.
The Blazers had beaten the Lakers 15 straight times dating back to March 2014 when Lakers won 107-106.
The Lakers were shorthanded due to injuries but had a 12-point lead at some point in the game. That was until Blazers All-Star guard, Damien Lillard went streaking in the 4th quarter scoring 19 of his game-high 39 points, including one from way downtown to tie the game. See it here!
Lillard had a similar performance against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night as he went 8 for 11 from three and scored 39 points in a blowout win.
Let’s not forget about Anthony Davis’ streak of 35 points and 10 rebounds during a seven-game winning streak. He also kept that streak for the entire month of February.
His play over the last month has many people throwing his name in the race for MVP.
With good, there is a bad. And the worst streak to have is a losing streak, especially when you’re trying to make the playoffs.
For the Detroit Pistons, it was literally playoff or bust when they traded for Blake Griffin. They started off strong when Griffin was paired with Andre Drummond, but they are currently facing a four-game losing streak and could miss the playoffs.
The Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks were both favorites to make the playoffs early on in the season, but with some critical injuries they have fallen out of playoff contention and could be eliminated in the next week.
Hornets are currently on a four-game losing streak and hope to snap it on Thursday night against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Knicks have lost five in a row and will have to get by the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday Night.
The worst of the worst is the Memphis Grizzlies who have lost 15 straight games and are set up to lose several more this season.
Let’s see how long these streaks will last and who will make the playoffs. For my playoff predictions, you can read it here! You may also give your own predictions based on how the teams are playing now. May you have Westbrook facing Durant in the first round, or maybe Westbrook and the Thunder start a streak of their own and finish in the top three.
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Featured Image: Photo Courtesy of Houston Chronicle