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Mike D’Antoni thinks Rockets are in a ‘good position’ despite falling under Nuggets, Blazers

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni recently returned from an illness to see his team seeded fourth in the Western Conference by season’s end — not exactly the result he expected, but one that will still allow him to propel this team throughout the playoffs. As fate would have it, a last-second 3-pointer by Paul George would ruin the Rockets chances of getting a higher seed, falling behind the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers and the second seed in the Denver Nuggets.

“I do think we’re in a great place,” said D’Antoni, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I think since the All-Star break we’re rolling. And I thought we played well enough in OKC to win the game. They beat us. That’s what happens when it comes down to all or nothing. Sometimes, the basketball gods go against you.”

The Rockets climbed their way out of a hole early in the season, going as low as the 14th spot in the West to start the season, soon putting themselves back to playoff contention and scaling as high as the third seed.

Under their current seed, Houston will only have home court advantage throughout the first round, assuming there isn’t an upset taking place in the other three matchups — yet it still renders a pathway to meet their goal and reach the NBA Finals.

“This is something we worked for all year,” D’Antoni said. “We’re in a good position. We have to take advantage of it.

“Since the All-Star break, we did everything even better than we said we had to do. Have to give credit to Denver and Portland. They played really well. I think we’re in a great place. I think we’re playing well. I like our chances.”

The Rockets went 20-5 following the All-Star break, the best mark in the NBA — and now they hit the postseason as the hottest team in the league throughout the last two months of action.