The Houston Rockets continue to pile the pressure on the Golden State Warriors in the battle for top spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets are beginning to pull away after the Warriors have stumbled in recent weeks, and that looks like continuing this weekend when the Rockets host the New Orleans Pelicans.
This should be a really good battle, with both teams have a lot to play for, the Pelicans look likely to make the playoffs, but it is not confirmed yet and they need to pick up some more wins for that to happen. Equally important for the Pelicans will be playoff positioning, which could determine how easy or tough they have it in the opening round of the playoffs. A couple of wins could propel them into 3rd place, while a couple of defeats could leave them in 8th, facing an incredibly tough matchup or potentially missing out completely. There is no other way of saying it, this is an incredibly important and decisive moment for the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Houston Rockets have a lot less to worry about going into the weekend. They are holding their form and winning games while watching the Warriors struggle for consistency and struggle to mount a challenge against them. Recently the Rockets clinched the Southwest Division, but they will be hoping for a whole lot more this season after the way they have been playing recently.
As far as this game goes, I have to side with the Houston Rockets to win it. They have lost just six games all season on their home court, and are playing as well as they have done all season right now, it is going to take a very good team to stop them. The game doesn’t hold the same importance for them as it does for the Pelicans, but they are desperate to claim top spot in the West, so the game does still have significance.
I am going to take the Rockets to beat the Pelicans, by a margin of 5-10 points, continuing their grip on the conference and leaving the situation very fluid for the Pelicans. Should the away team manage to come in and spring a surprise, it would really aid their chances of climbing into a top-four spot going into the playoffs, giving them home advantage in the first round.