The Houston Rockets are certainly among the more exciting teams in the league—with their league-high 106 points per game, it's no surprise fans want to see the likes of James Harden and Chandler Parsons lighting up their opponents.
If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would be locked in at the sixth seed, but of course there's still plenty of basketball left to be played by the Rockets.
So in reality, what will the Rockets' final regular-season record look like?
Out of their 10 last games, the Rockets have been winning at a 70 percent clip and managed to tally a five-game winning streak stretching from New Year's Eve until their recent upset as three-point chalk on the road against the New Orleans Hornets.
Sure, the recent upset is disappointing, but the Rockets controlled most of the game only to get outscored 29 to 10 in the fourth quarter.
If you chalk it up to fatigue from the back-to-back, it isn't such a big deal, but they missed an opportunity to score an easy win against a sub-.500 team.
Especially when you consider the importance of late-season momentum and how better seeding can lead to home-court advantage, the Rockets will want to get as many wins as they can.
Going further into January, there will be plenty of marquee matchups that include a chance at upsetting the surging Los Angeles Clippers at home in the Toyota Center. The month will also include two scheduled bouts against the high-scoring Denver Nuggets, so if you're in need of scoring, look no further.
February will feature three blockbuster matchups against the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and another bout with the Clips. All of them will not only be entertaining games, but it will be a chance for the Rockets to add even more experience at this time in the season.
March and April is where things will be the most intense—with the postseason right around the corner, the competition will only intensify.
Of course once you lock in seeding, this is also when we see starters benched in favor of the reserves to prevent injuries real late in April; however, this being the Western Conference, seeding position can shift on a day-to-day basis, so ensuring the starters go hard every night into the waning months will be important.
March will feature a couple showdowns against the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks, and we’ll also see them face off against the Los Angeles Clippers one last time just a few games after taking on the San Antonio Spurs.
The Rockets’ last game will take place on April Fool’s Day against the Lakers in the Staples Center, so assuming both teams put all of their troops on the floor, the Rockets will close out the season with one last fast-paced affair.
Aside from their upcoming schedule, the current projections (although they tend to fluctuate) indicate the Rockets have an 86.3 percent chance of making the playoffs (h/t teamrankings.com) when including their remaining strength of schedule, performances on the road and how things would mathematically play out assuming a bad losing streak rears its ugly head.
However, given the Rockets' current momentum and considering this is a much more focused and complete team than last year, a finalized projection of 45-37 to 47-35 is probably where the Rockets will find themselves at the end of the 2012-13 NBA regular-season campaign.
For a team that just barely missed the playoffs last season, this would be an incredible morale boost going forward and it will also ensure that we're in for an exciting series no matter who the Rockets play come playoff time.