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2012-2013 Game 29 Preview: Can the Thunder Beat Harden and the Rockets Again?

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As fun as the first matchup between these two teams was, it's doubtful that the Thunder will get to blow out the Rockets in such a grandiose fashion this time.

Easily the happiest dunk face I've ever seen.
Easily the happiest dunk face I've ever seen.
USA TODAY Sports
2012-2013 NBA Season
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The Oklahoma City Thunder (22-6)
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The Houston Rockets (16-13)
December 29th, 2012
The Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
7:00 PM CST
Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Comcast Sports Network Houston
WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), SportsTalk 790
Enemy Blogs: The Dream Shake, Red94
Previous Meetings: Nov 28th (Thunder Lead Season Series 1-0)
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Jeremy Lin
Thabo Sefolosha SG James Harden
Kevin Durant SF Marcus Morris (Patrick Patterson?)
Serge Ibaka PF Chandler Parsons
Kendrick Perkins C Omer Asik

The fist Thunder-Rockets meeting was a fun one, with our beloved team finally getting to defeat the man who had left them for the love of playing time and money. But as fun as that first matchup was, it's doubtful that the Thunder will get to blow out the Rockets in such a grandiose fashion this time. For one, the Thunder are playing on the road. For two, the Rockets will probably see Carlos Delfino and Patrick Patterson return from injuries tonight.

For three, the Rockets are a team that likes to exploit mismatches, and find holes in your defense. During our last matchup with the team, guys like Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, and Omer Asik were able to work well off the ball and score despite their limited ability to beat guys one on one. If guys like that can score so easily against us, then all it takes is an average performance from Lin or Harden to make the Rockets competitive.

On the Thunder side of things, it's definitely a good idea to keep an eye on Reggie Jackson. It seems that he's permanently replaced Eric Maynor in the rotation, and Scott Brooks is willing to give him more time to work with the bench plus Sefolosha lineup that turned out to be such a failure in the past. He's supposedly a better scorer than Maynor, especially in one on one situations, which should help out the lineup offensively. But, as we all know, it's hard to judge a lineup until its' gotten extended action, though they haven't hurt us so far.

Anyway, tonight's game should be close, but the Thunder should have this one on lockdown when it's all said and done. They just know Harden's game too well, and as long as three of their four scoring options have solid games, then a win is well within grasp.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 109, Houston Rockets 104.

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