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

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.