Warriors finally get some breathing room over the Rockets in the standings

The Houston Rockets are right on the Warriors' heels as they attempt to snag the final play-in spot in the West. 

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Before March began, the Houston Rockets' record was 25-34. As we enter the last month of the NBA regular season, their record stands at 38-36. With only eight games remaining in the regular season, the Golden State Warriors and Rockets are in a tight race for the final Play-In Tournament spot in the West.

Jalen Green and the Rockets went on a tear this past March. In addition to their 11-game win streak, which ties the Celtics for the longest win streak in the NBA this season, the Rockets closed out the month with a league-best 13-2 record. In March alone, Jalen Green averaged 27.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, seemingly making it his personal mission to catch up to the Golden State Warriors. 

However, in the waning hours of the season, the Golden State Warriors also got hot. The Warriors are 4-1 in their last five games. Per The Athletic's Anthony Slater, the Warriors (40-34) are now two (basically three because of the tiebreaker) games ahead of the Rockets (38-36) for the 10th seed.

Via @anthonyVslater on Twitter/X:

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reflected on how tough the West is this season. “We had a similar record last year and we were the sixth seed,” he said.

Since the top-six-ranked teams in each conference are all guaranteed playoff spots, while the teams ranked seventh through tenth in the standings compete in the play-in, the 11th-place Rockets are currently in danger of missing the playoffs. According to ESPN's latest projections, Houston only has a 5% chance of making the play-in, while the Warriors have a 97% chance. Although there's still little margin for error, the Warriors can technically breathe a sigh of relief. 

It remains to be seen if the play-in tournament is out of reach for the Rockets. Both teams' next game will be against conference opponents, with the Warriors facing the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, April 2.