Houston Rockets Surging Up NBA Power Rankings

Jalen Green, Fred VanVleet, Jabari Smith Jr., Rockets, NBA
Mar 27, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Houston Rockets guard Fred VanVleet (5) talks to his teammates during a time out against the Oklahoma City Thunder during overtime at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Currently, the hottest team in the NBA is the Houston Rockets. They are making a late-season push for a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament, as they are only one game behind the Golden State Warriors for 10th place in the Western Conference.

This run has essentially come out of nowhere, as the Rockets looked like they were dead in the water a few weeks ago. A season-ending injury to emerging center Alperen Sengun further diminished their chances of getting on track, but they have defied the odds.

Courtesy of, at the time, a nine-game winning streak, the Rockets were shooting up ESPN’s NBA Power Rankings this week. They had the biggest jump of the week, going from No. 20 to No. 17 thanks to their incredible play.

“Who would have imagined that the Rockets would have the NBA’s longest active winning streak right now? Jalen Green, who has averaged an efficient 29 points per game during the nine-game run, has been the headliner as the Rockets fight for a play-in spot. An unsung hero? Backup center Jock Landale, who has averaged 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in the seven games since Alperen Sengun went down with a sprained ankle. The Rockets have outscored opponents by 92 points in Landale’s 166 minutes, and he ranks second on the team in plus-minus during that span behind only Green (plus-131),” wrote Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Anyone skeptical of the Rockets moving up was quickly proven wrong on Wednesday night. Their winning streak reached 10 games as they went on the road and defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 132-126 in overtime.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sitting for the Thunder, the Rockets took full advantage, picking up only their 11th road victory of the season. It could not have come at a better time, as the Warriors defeated the Orlando Magic earlier on Wednesday, keeping Houston at bay for at least one more night.

Jalen Green is in the midst of his best stretch of performances in the NBA, as he is looking like the star the Rockets envisioned him to be when they selected him No. 2 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. He is the leading man for Houston right now, helping get them back in the thick of the playoff race.

The Rockets will be challenged during their upcoming schedule, as they play two playoff teams after the Utah Jazz in the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves. After that, the biggest game for the franchise in years is on deck, as they will host the Warriors in a game that could decide who earns the final NBA Play-In Tournament Spot.

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