Game 1 Pregame Primer: Thunder @ Rockets (0-0)natashapanchal.com / @MarcStreeter

Game 1 Pregame Primer: Thunder @ Rockets (0-0)

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ESPN preview

Tip-off:

5:30 PM @ The Field House, ? TNT

Projected starting lineups:

Oklahoma CityHouston
PG: Chris PaulPG: James Harden
SG: Dennis SchröderSG: Eric Gordon
SF: Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderSF: Jeff Green
PF: Danilo Gallinari PF: P.J. Tucker
C: Steven AdamsC: Robert Covington

3 Big Things:

  • No Russell Westbrook. The Thunder have to take advantage of every game that Westbrook doesn’t play. Without Westbrook, the Rockets will have to rely heavily on Harden heroics, which the Thunder have too mitigate in 3 ways: keep Harden off the line, don’t foul a 3 attempt, and make getting to the rim as hard as possible every time.
  • Size Advantage. As we all know, the Rockets are playing small ball without Capella now. The Thunder haven’t faced this version of the Rockets yet and theoretically, it should be an opportunity for Adams to feast. However, the Rockets have found ways to neutralize other teams bigs and that can’t happen if OKC wants to win this series. Adams is the X-factor for this series and if the Rockets play him off the court, the Thunder can’t win.
  • Defending without Dort. The Thunder will be without Lu Dort for at least Game 1. As the Thunder’s best Harden defender, Dort will be greatly missed. But, the Thunder have a few other options to throw at Harden including Diallo and Roberson. It may take defense by committee, but whoever starts in place of Dort has big shoes to fill.

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