Rockets (0-0, 0-0 road) vs. Thunder (0-0, 0-0 home)
View from the enemy: Red 94
Game 1. Someone is taking control of the series. And with the Thunder at home and the undisputed favorite, the pressure is on them. The Rockets are young in inexperienced, but can play loose and relaxed knowing nobody expects much of them.
The storylines here are plentiful, but when the ball goes up, it’s not about former teammates or friendships. It’s about 48 minutes of basketball, and getting a job done. The Thunder know what to do and if they perform, nothing the Rockets do, outside of hitting 20 3s, should get in the way.
Three Big Things
1. Perimeter defense. It’s easier said than done to contest shooters, and sometimes, the shots just drop in your face. But the Thunder can’t let the Rockets start splashing 3s and gaining confidence. Make them work 24 seconds a possession to find a look.
2. Exposed. The Thunder should have serious individual matchup advantages with Westbrook against Lin, Durant against Parsons, Ibaka against whoever Houston starts at the 4. You have to take advantage of those situations and keep the Rockets scrambling with their matchups.
3. Harden. Limit him, win the game.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Game 1.