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Houston clinches top seed in the West for the first time in franchise history

Over the past few seasons, the Golden State Warriors winning the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference often sounded like a foregone conclusion. It seemed then that the rest of the conference were all just vying for the No. 2 seed. That’s no longer the case, and we can say that for sure because with the Warriors losing Thursday night to the Milwaukee Bucks at home, 116-107, it paved the way for the Houston Rockets to clinch the top seed in the West.

The Rockets did not play on Thursday, but their magic number was one, which meant they could bag the top seed with a win or a loss by the Warriors. In a sense, the Bucks did Houston a favor, though it’s not like the Rockets are not going to secure at least one more win before the season ends. With their current form, the Rockets could even go on to win the rest of their regular-season schedule.

Having locked up the No, 1 spot in the conference, the only question remaining for the Rockets is which team they will meet in the first round of the playoffs. Depending on how things shake out in the West, the Rockets could face any of following teams: San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, L.A. Clippers, Denver Nuggets.

Houston, which currently owns a 61-14 record, has seven more games to play this regular season – four at home and three on the road. The team will next face the struggling Phoenix Suns this Friday at Toyota Center.