The Rockets started the season 6-0, then began to slide down the standings during a hard November run, which saw them play the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns twice each.
As it stands, the club is in a chase for the final Western Conference playoff spots with the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets have been hurt, again, by injuries to Tracy McGrady, who's been out of the lineup for almost two weeks.
Health concerns have been a recurring problem in Houston—and if the Rockets want a postseason berth, they need to avoid the injury bug.
In McGrady's absence, a number of Rockets have stepped up their play. Yao Ming can't win games all by himself, after all—and Bonzi Wells, Luis Scola, Luther Head, and Aaron Brooks have all come to the rescue, each bringing a different specialty to the table.
Scola, a 28-year-old rookie out of Argentina, has filled the void left by Juwan Howard at PF. Brooks, a rookie out of Oregon, has brought stability to the PG position, where five Rockets are competing for playing time.
The former Duck really gives the team an edge from the three-point line.
All told, the Rockets are winning again even without their star. But they still have their work cut out for them. That competition in the Southwest Division isn't going to get any easier between now and the spring.