Thunder vs Rockets, preview and gamethread: OKC goes to battle against recovering Houston

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

Time: 7PM CST

Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKC

Broadcast: TNT

Line: Houston -4.5


The Thunder return home on the second night of a back-to-back, after playing in Cleveland last night, to play their third game in four nights. Their opponent for the evening is the surging Houston Rockets who, after a slow start, seem to be finding a groove and will be riding a three-game win-streak into town.

Although the Rockets currently rank in the bottom 10 of the league in both OFFRTG (105.8) and DEFRTG (110.1) they come into tonight favored to win in the (probable) absence of Russell Westbrook. This match-up is one that has traditionally been an emotionally charged night for the crowd as James Harden comes back to town. Tonight we add a new layer to this emotion as he's joined for the first time in OKC by fellow former-Thunder Carmelo Anthony.

The Thunder are, of course, enjoying their own winning streak of 6 straight games after getting started with an ugly 0-4 record and will be looking to keep it alive tonight playing in their second game without Russ after he rolled an ankle in Monday night's game.

Keys for OKC:

  • Can the Thunder continue to use their disruptive defense to generate easy buckets?
  • Can Ray Felton lead the second unit without completely abandoning the team's identity/pace?
  • Can Paul George be Paul George of old in Westbrook's absence?

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