Harden, Lin starting to figure it out

The Rockets' star backcourt is good enough to lead Houston to the playoffs

Updated: December 31, 2012, 3:42 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider
Jeremy Lin and James HardenJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesThe Rockets have won five of their past seven games.

When Tom Haberstroh used Per Diem to lobby for the Houston Rockets to bench Jeremy Lin two weeks ago, the Rockets were a game below .500, having lost four of their previous six outings. Since then, Houston has emerged as one of the league's hottest teams, winning five in a row before stumbling against last year's Western Conference finalists (San Antonio and Oklahoma City) during a difficult back-to-back over the weekend. That's not entirely a coincidence.