Where They At: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are in down-to-the-wire territory now, playing for their playoff lives against an unforgiving gauntlet of Western opponents. The team just can't stop anyone on defense, and is mustering enough offense for some close-but-no-cigar losses of late. Losing four of five games is rare for the Thunder, but that's where they're at again, down a multitude of stars and role players to close a season that opened in similar fashion.
Where They At: Houston Rockets
Another game, another great team with the 2 seed to play for lining up against the Thunder. Houston has been hot, winning eight of their last 10, getting Dwight Howard re-acclimated to the powerhouse James Harden shaped while building his MVP case.
As Russell Westbrook has struggled with his shot of late, there's been less and less reason to be optimistic about the Thunder beating good teams. But a few matchups, along with the home crowd, should at least help the Thunder make this an exciting game. Harden might get 50, but without Patrick Beverley alongside him on the perimeter, the defense could be susceptible to attacks from Russ and other Thunder guards. Steven Adams has proven capable against Howard in the post, and adding Enes Kanter to the offense should be a boon for the Thunder in this one--with the caveat that Houston could go small and stretch the Thunder to death.
Prediction: Houston 125, Oklahoma City 119
|2014-15 NBA Season Game 77|
|April 5th, 2015|
|Chesapeake Energy Arena|
|12 PM Central Daylight Time|
|Injury Report: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Andre Roberson, Nick Collison, Patrick Beverley, Donatas Motiejunas, Kostas Papanikolaou (Out), Enes Kanter (Probable)|
|This Season's Matchups: Nov. 16 (L 69-65) Jan. 15 (L 112-101)|
|Russell Westbrook||PG||Jason Terry|
|Dion Waiters||SG||James Harden|
|Kyle Singler||SF||Trevor Ariza|
|Enes Kanter||PF||Terrence Jones|
|Steven Adams||C||Dwight Howard|