Thunder (39-14, 16-10 road) at Rockets (29-26, 18-8 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.4 (1st), Rockets– 109.7 (4th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.1 (8th), Rockets – 106.8 (20th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.4 (8th), Rockets – 96.2 (1st)
View from the enemy: Red 94
Is this the last game with the current roster? Kind of fitting that if it is, it would come against one of the Thunder’s former favorite sons, James Harden. Trade talk aside, the Thunder have a pretty important game tonight, at least in the sense of moving past the previous two losses and starting the second half off well.
The Thunder have basically owned the Rockets in the two previous matchups with wins of 22 and 30. They’ve held James Harden down, completely neutralized Jeremy Lin and just beaten down their terrible defense.
But the Rockets aren’t going to take this one easy, especially now that they’re well rested and probably a little upset with the way the first two meetings have gone. It’ll be tough.
Houston coming in: The Rockets are coming off a loss, falling to the Clippers last Wednesday.
Three Big Things
1. Defending Harden. The Thunder have done a better job of it than anyone this season. They know him, they know his game, they know his tendencies. But shutting down a great scorer three straight times is hard and I’d expect Harden to play a lot more relaxed tonight.
2. Asik and don’t let destroy. With no Perk, the Rockets could attack the Thunder a whole lot in the pick-and-roll. For whatever reason, Hasheem Thabeet is starting at center, meaning that Asik could be very dangerous.
3. Proper pace. The Rockets like to play fast, they like to get frantic. That strategy can work against a lot of teams, but the Thunder love playing fast. Westbrook and Durant in the open floor free-wheeling and improvising is when they’re most dangerous. So watching the possessions of this game could be interesting.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Second Half.