There is no point in pulling punches. When the Rockets opened their season 1-5, they were a bad basketball team. They couldn't stop anyone on defense and couldn't score on offense. But, just a few weeks later, they are 8-7, having gone through one of their toughest stretches of the season winning seven of nine games including their last four in a row. In those nine games, they have held all but six teams under 100 points and scored 105 per game on average. It's safe to say they are back.
Having left that rough patch behind them, they now enter a softer stretch of the schedule where they should be able to make up some ground.
This week, they bookend Thanksgiving Day with a pair of games against the Pistons, first at home then in Detroit. The Pistons are by no means world beaters and have only won four of their last 10 games after starting the season 3-0. The Rockets end the week on Saturday in the second game of a back-to-back against the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers, who are currently an NBA worst 2-12.
They complete their three-game Eastern Conference trip with a visit to the nation's capital to play the Wizards, who are a disappointing 5-11 to start the young season.
Returning to Texas, the Rockets are home for the Mavs, who have been God awful this season. They follow that up with a trip to San Antonio to try and avenge a brutal loss just over a week ago that seemed to spur on (pun intended) the recent turnaround. That is followed by a back-to-back home game against the hapless Bulls, a team the Rockets have already beaten once this season in Chicago.
Then, it's three games on the road, first in Minnesota to face a struggling T-Wolves squad still reeling from the trade of Jimmy Butler. Then, it's on to Utah to face the surprisingly terrible Jazz, another team that is trying to figure out just what the hell went wrong between last season and this one. They end that short trip with their first stop this season in Dallas.
Each of those ten are winnable games. While no one should probably expect them to sweep all of them, it wouldn't exactly be a shocker if they did, which would put them on a 14-game winning streak before coming home to take on Portland.
For now, they will settle for a four-game jag and looking like the team that won 65 games last season instead of the one that started this year 1-5.