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Thunder vs Rockets preview: OKC is down to their last 3 strikes in Houston

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The Thunder own precious few more chances to sustain their playoff hopes.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets

Time: 7:30 CST

Broadcast: ABC

Location: Toyota Center, Houston


The Thunder travel to Houston tonight to begin the final death march of their season. Three games remain, and likely at least two wins are necessary to secure a spot. A Shakespearean comedy, isn’t it? A Thunder team who has boasted all year they will make an impact in the playoffs because of how they perform against the league’s best must now actually beat the league’s best in order to actually hold onto their playoff seeding.

And you know what? They absolutely deserve to be in the current situation they’re in, from top down. This isn’t an “Oh, bad bounce here, missed shot there, those things will even out in the end” kind of statistical anomaly. From nearly beginning of season to tonight, this is exactly the kind of team whose approach and performance would warrant a peek over the precipice at this late hour.

A loss to Houston tonight means OKC is bumped down to 9th place and make their final two games must-wins for even a shot at staying in, a two game stretch that I don’t think anyone at WTLC believes they would actually accomplish, as depressing as that is to admit. In a very real way, tonight in part defines the next 4-6 months of OKC’s existence.

And how do I expect it will go? Here, let me make a pie chart for you.

Could the Thunder win this game tonight? Sure, of course they can, although without dedicated James Harden defender Andre Roberson, it is a tall order regardless of their disposition. A win though would be a surprise, akin to if the Kings were to beat the Warriors. Yes, we can always assume that an upset could happen, but we don’t expect it, and it isn’t even rational to think it.

And I don’t expect it tonight, either. Why? Because the Thunder have shown so little sense of urgency, resiliency, or awareness of the moment, even if they find themselves in a position to win, in all likelihood they will once again allow the moment to elude them through unforced errors, inattention to detail, and broken strategy.

In a season filled with unmet expectations, that is the one expectation we now have of this team that is likely not to be missed.


Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    (134 votes)
  • 40%
    (92 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now