Entering Friday, the Rockets are 37-25 on the season, good for fifth place in the Western Conference standings. They trail the Portland Trail Blazers by one and a half games for the fourth seed.
“At this point, everything’s for seeding,” Rivers told Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “You know you got 21 games left, 22 games left, everything’s for seeding. That environment of that second half, us playing that hard, us scrapping like that — that was a playoff environment. We needed to continue to build off that.”
Houston had the best record in the NBA last season and took the Golden State Warriors to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. The club got off to a rough start this season, but thanks to the heroics of reigning MVP James Harden — who leads the NBA in scoring at 36.6 points — the Rockets are back to being one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA.
The addition of Austin Rivers has also helped Houston climb up in the standings. Rivers is averaging 10.1 points and 2.9 assists in 29 games with the Rockets while shooting 41.7 percent from the field.