This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 7:00 PM Central Daylight Time
Place: The New Myriad, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Fox Sports Net Houston
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), SportsRadio 610
Enemy Blog(s): The Dream Shake
Previous Meeting(s): None.
After an excellent road win against Utah, the Thunder look to capitalize on it in the Western Conference standings with a win against Houston tonight.
But, exactly how much of a threat is Houston? Coming into the season, this team was hyped as having the talent to get back into the playoffs, and possibly revert back into a contender. But early in the season, that hype seems like it was for naught. Quite unsurprisingly, the Rockets have fallen victim to the injury bug again, with both Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming out with injuries tonight. They still have a talented lineup with Shane Battier, Luis Scola, and Kevin Martin, but the team is still having trouble fitting all of the pieces together. Last year, they seemed to find an identity as a small team that played intense defense and ran the other team off of the floor. This year, they brought back Yao and signed Brad Miller, making them a traditional team, shoving Scola and Hayes to Power Forward. Why?
Below: Why the Rockets Changed Strategy, Jeff Green's Status, How the Game Will Go, Prediction!
I suppose that they wanted a change of plans, especially since the team didn't make the playoffs last year. And they needed to make room for Yao Ming, who would be worthless as a trading asset, due to his big salary and plethora of injures. But this season is just another in the history of the Rockets, where they have lots of talent but just can't seem to figure out how to put it together.
Jeff Green will still be out tonight, but it shouldn't be too bad, unless Luis Scola decides to go crazy at PF. I'm moreso hoping he'll be back by Friday for our game at the Eastern Conference Champion Celtics.
The game should be close, as the Rockets challenge even the best of teams, usually only to collapse in the fourth quarter. The Rockets will be on the second game of a back-to-back, so that should only amplify the trend. I think that the Rockets will rely heavily on Martin and Scola for all of their scoring needs, but without Ming or Brooks to act as a third wheel, I don't think that strategy is sustainable for the entire game. Thunder win a relatively close one.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 104, Houston 97