The Golden State Warriors (44-13) and Houston Rockets (42-13) are competing at the top of the 2018 NBA standings with the All-Star break just a few days away. The defending champions still have the league’s best record, but it’s become clear that securing the Western Conference's top spot is far from a guarantee.

Golden State is the odds-on favorite to win the 2018 NBA Finals, arguably boasting four of the league’s top 20 players and two of the five best basketball players in the world. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll win their third title in four years as the league’s No.1 seed.

A 129-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns (18-40) Monday night gave the Warriors their third consecutive win. Prior to the three-game winning streak, Golden State had lost three of four games, allowing Houston to keep gaining ground on them in the West.

With the Warriors seemingly going through the motions in the New Year, head coach Steve Kerr allowed Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala to act as the head coach and run the team huddle during timeouts Monday.

“It's the players' team, and they have to take ownership of it,” Kerr said, via “And as coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them, but we don't control them. They determine their own fate and I don't feel like we focused well at all the last month, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I thought they communicated really well together and drew up some nice plays, and it was a good night for the guys.”

The result was a 46-point blowout over the West’s second-worst team. Even with the Warriors not playing their best basketball for a significant period of time, they are still on pace to win 63 games. Klay Thompson is the only member of Golden State’s “Big Four” that hasn’t missed at least eight games, and Stephen Curry has been sidelined for 15 games over the course of the year.

Houston has won eight games in a row and 12 of their last 13 contests. James Harden has separated himself as the clear frontrunner in the NBA MVP race, leading the league with 31.3 points per game and ranking third with 8.9 assists per game. Chris Paul is averaging 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds in 37 games.

There doesn’t seem to be any chance that another team could compete for a top-two seed in the West. The San Antonio Spurs (35-23) are 9.5 games behind Golden State as the conference’s No.3 seed. The Minnesota Timberwolves (35-24), who face Houston Tuesday, are a half-game behind the Spurs. The Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25) are in play for the No.3 seed, as well.

It seems like a two-team race for home-court advantage in the East between the Toronto Raptors (39-16) and Boston Celtics (40-18). Even after making three deals at the trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-22) might have too much ground to gain in order to finish higher than third in the conference.