Are the Houston Rockets really title contenders?
That's probably not what James Harden is wondering as he lifts his arms up to the sky. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was just celebrating the Rockets' dominant victory over the Indiana Pacers on March 7, one that pushed their record over the past 10 games to 8-2.
All of a sudden, Houston is the hottest team in basketball.
Not only are the Rockets within striking distance of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but they're also imposing their will on both ends of the court while leaving absolutely no doubt that this is a dominant regular-season team.
But the question remains—are they really title contenders?
The playoffs are a different beast than the regular season, as play slows down, rotations thin out and each possession becomes all the more valuable. Experience and star power matters, although upstarts can always make Cinderella runs through the competition.
It's time to figure the Rockets' status out once and for all.