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Rockets clinch division title after Spurs lost to Kings

James Harden, Chris Paul, Rockets

Following the Sacramento Kings’ win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, the Houston Rockets officially clinched the Southwest division title — the first of what the organization hopes will be many clinchers over the coming months.

It’s now the third time in the past five years that the Rockets have claimed division superiority, also having done so last year en route to the league’s top mark.

It will be only the Rockets and Spurs who will represent the Southwest division in the Western Conference playoffs, as New Orleans, Dallas and Memphis all jockey for positioning in the NBA Draft Lottery. Houston’s eyes couldn’t be further from ping-pong balls, instead looking toward the postseason mountain that comes with having already climbed to the top of the division.

Led by MVP candidate James Harden, Houston had a bumpy road back to the playoffs in 2018-19. They had some lean times that featured multiple G League players getting significant run while Clint Capela, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon dealt with injuries.

Now with their core group healthy entering the postseason, the Rockets are looking to avenge their Game 7 defeat in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors last season. The team hasn’t make it to the NBA Finals time since the 1994-95 campaign.

History could be on their side for another deep playoff run, as on the previous three occasions in which they claimed their division title, the Rockets have at least made an appearance in the Conference semifinals.