OKC Thunder (25-13, 11-7 road) at Houston Rockets (17-21, 10-7 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.0 (9th), Rockets – 109.8 (7th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 107.0 (17th), Rockets – 109.4 (24th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.3 (12th), Rockets – 94.7 (5th)
View from the enemy: Red 94
For whatever reason, Houston is just a tough place for the Thunder to win. The last OKC went down there, the Thunder played rather terrible, but if a Kevin Durant jumper drops at the buzzer, we all would’ve been happy. Instead, it was just short and we were all sad.
So in other words, a chance for redemption. Or vengeance. Or revenge. Or just a regular win would actually do fine.
Houston coming in: The Rockets have dropped five of six after getting back to .500. However, they last played Monday, picking up a big road win in Boston.
Aaron Brooks is back so that’ll make a difference for the Rockets. And it’ll make them tougher to guard. Brooks can get hot and be a threat to score 30, or more. So with him and Kevin Martin in the backcourt together, Houston has the ability to put up points. (Except that Kevin Martin is actually out tonight, along with Brad Miller.)
We know Shane Battier can defend Kevin Durant well, but last time it was about Battier’s outside shooting. OKC gave the Rockets too many open 3-point looks and Houston made the Thunder pay.
Luis Scola is such a good inside-out power forward and he’ll give Jeff Green some trouble. But hopefully Green brings that aggressiveness we saw against Memphis and Dallas, because really Scola doesn’t have a huge size advantage. It’s just about Green playing hard and going after the ball on the glass. I think Green can stick with Scola fine, but he’s got to really put in the effort.
Players like Chuck Hayes and Jordan Hill are really the guys that kind of scare me. The Rockets have a pretty nice frontline with a good mix of grit and athleticism.
The Rockets are pretty good at home and have played better, despite losing five of six. But this is a capable team. Doesn’t mean there’s an excuse to lose, especially with three days off. OKC needs to go into Houston and take care of business.
Tip at 7:30 CT. Go Der.