Thunder vs. Houston: Pre-game primer

vs.

Oklahoma City Thunder (0-1) vs. Houston Rockets (2-0)
Saturday, November 1
Toyota Center
Houston, TX
7:30 p.m. CST

TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma (Cox 37)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)

Game thread
NBA.com pregame info
The Oklahoman’s pre-gamer

For the first time, the Thunder will have to go head-to-head with the King – and I don’t mean Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming. OKC will be bouncing the round ball while the Oklahoma Sooners run around with the funny-shaped one. The Thunder is sure to lose the ratings battle, but I am setting my DVR and will be sure to watch once I get home from the game.

Remember Two Things:
1. OKC’s preseason win over the Rockets means nothing. Absolutely nothing. Ron Artest played little , Tracy McGrady played less and Yao dominated a half before he sat the next. The Rockets are very, very good. Tonight’s game will be an excellent measuring stick to show how far the Thunder has to go. Throw out opening night against the Bucks. The team hinted at feeling added pressure because of the emotion and festivities of opening night. There’s good reason they played so tight. But tonight’s game will be an opportunity to get out and just play with no expectations and no pressure.

2. A good start is key. There was a lot of grumbling about the way Coach Peej managed the first game with his lineup combos. Not playing Durant enough even while he was in foul trouble. Messing with a lineup that went on a run. Not starting Chris Wilcox. None of that stuff would have mattered as much if the Thunder hit their first five out of seven or something. Tonight, KD needs a hot start and Russell Westbrook needs to play more than Earl Watson. Westbrook adds another dimension with his attacking the rim while Watson wants to just stand and distribute.

In order to win… OKC must rebound and take care of the ball. Losing on the hustle stats like it did against Milwaukee can’t happen. Any lose ball has to go the way of the Thunder.

Prediction: Kevin Durant plays extremely well and finishes with a solid 30 point performance. Not enough as Yao is way too much inside for the Thunder to handle. Rockets 110, Thunder 102.

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