Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 4/15/13
Bound for their first playoff appearance in four seasons, the Rockets have their sights set on the sixth seed in the Western Conference. They haven't quite nailed it down yet. The Rockets will look to take another step toward doing so Monday night when they visit the Suns, who continue to slide down the stretch to one of the worst finishes in franchise history. The Rockets (45-35) have already clinched their first postseason berth since 2009 and can finish as high as sixth -- the place they currently occupy. The Warriors are also 45-35, but Houston holds the tiebreaker with a 3-1 advantage in the season series. The Rockets also hold a 2-1 advantage against the Lakers, but that could be evened in Wednesday's season finale at Los Angeles. Should Houston lose to Phoenix and the Lakers, Los Angeles would be seeded higher based on its better record against Western Conference teams. But with wins in six of their last eight games after a 121-100 home victory over the Kings on Sunday, the Rockets appear poised for a strong finish. "I think we're clicking at the perfect time," said Chandler Parsons, who had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists after sitting out four games with a strained right calf. "We're playing so unselfishly, we're playing for each other, we're all on the same page and know our roles and our responsibilities. I think we can't be playing any better than we are right now." James Harden, who had 29 points Sunday before sitting out the fourth quarter, averaged 29.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting -- 52.2 from 3-point range -- as Houston took two of three games from Phoenix earlier this season. Even as he caps the best season of his career, Harden has his eyes on some subtle improvement down the stretch. "It's about improving our small things, little detailed things," Harden said. "I don't think the home-run plays are going to get us over the top. I think the small things are going to help us be successful in this postseason." The Suns (24-56) sit at the bottom of the conference and are already guaranteed the second-worst record in franchise history, finishing ahead of only the 16-66 mark in the team's expansion season of 1968-69. They've dropped 15 of 17 after a 105-93 loss at Minnesota on Saturday in which they committed 28 turnovers. Coach Lindsey Hunter's club is averaging 17.5 turnovers over its last 17 contests, the most in the NBA during that span, and opponents are scoring 21.3 points per game off of those mishaps. "We turned the ball over entirely too much," Hunter said. "It wasn't complicated turnovers; it was simple passes that we tried to be too fancy or tried to thread the needle too thin." Wes Johnson has been one of the few bright spots for Phoenix as the season winds to a close, averaging 14.7 points on 44.8 percent shooting and knocking down 39.3 percent of his shots from long distance over his last 10 games. He averaged 6.0 points while hitting only 28.4 percent from deep through his first 38 contests.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football


Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker