Houston Rockets (3-7, 2-4 road) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-4, 3-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.3 (7th), Rockets – 107.2 (12th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 112.5 (29th), Rockets – 107.1 (21st)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (17th), Rockets – 97.3 (3rd)
View from the enemy: Red 94
An opportunity to build on the good things from Monday and to start some consistent play. That’s the opportunity here for the Thunder. The Rockets aren’t near as bad as their record would indicate but they aren’t healthy. Aaron Brooks is hurt and overall, they’re struggling to defend. Houston is a capable team, but there’s not a lot of reason to lose this at home.
Houston coming in: One big reason there’s not a lot of an excuse is because Houston is coming off a game against the Bulls last night that was a real grinder. They’re also just 2-4 on the road.
Again, the Rockets are hurting at guard. Aaron Brooks is out so right now it’s a combination of Ish Smith and Kyle Lowry. This is probably the matchup OKC has its biggest advantage with Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has a speed, size and power advantage over both.
Kevin Martin with Thabo defending should be a bunch of fun. Martin is an unconventional scorer that finds ways to get an awkward jumper off and of course Thabo is a stellar man-to-man defender. That’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Shane Battier of course an excellent defender and he’ll try and frustrate Kevin Durant by crowding him and making him put the ball on the floor. But Battier isn’t the kind of defender that will try and muscle KD or anything.
Typically, Luis Scola gives OKC fits inside, but that’s with Jeff Green starting. Green is out again so Serge Ibaka will have the task of slowing down the dynamic inside-out power forward. Yao Ming is out for this one so it’ll be Brad Miller, Jordan Hill and Chuck Hayes inside. With Nick Collison back, the Thunder should be OK on the interior
As sweet as the Utah win was, a loss here really cancels that goodwill out. A consistent 48 minutes of offense and defense is in order for this team, but really, just win. I’m not entirely ready to beg for superb play on top of wins quite yet.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Home Team.