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Thunder vs Rockets preview and gamethread: OKC’s final regular season test against their Houston nemesis

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It comes down to these guys.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets

Time: 8:30PM CST

Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC

Broadcast: TNT

Counterpart: The Dream Shake

***

The Thunder are counting down now, with two games to go in the regular season and their playoff seeding still very much up in the air. While the chance of a 5th seed is barely a whisper of hope at this point, until probability becomes certainty and Utah wins one out of its two remaining games, OKC has a chance.

And it starts with our friends the Houston Rockets, forever bound in basketball history.

Perhaps it was inevitability with the way this season has unfolded, that the Thunder, who have essentially flip-flopped positions over the course of the past 60 games, now are staring at a regular season ending and a highly probable playoff matchup against Houston. Right now I am both hopeful and also somewhat queasy at the possible outcome (like 30/70 split).

For the Thunder to be able to come out competitive tonight, and prove the last three games weren’t a mirage, would bring a fraction of optimism at the tail end of a crash and burn season. But the flip side is there, and it is quite possibly real. The Rockets have been one of the hottest 2nd half teams this season, chewing up other teams with impunity, frequently blasting them from the start, including recent thrashings on the Clippers and Nuggets. In other words, a 55-30 first half deficit is in play, and it’s just a question of whether the Thunder can fight hard enough and smart enough to avoid it.

Houston’s singular focus on who they are and what they want to do, contrasted against the Thunder’s frequent lack of focus and early-game performance, is what scares me most.

The Rockets are the final real test this season; let’s see if the Thunder can repair some more of the damage they’ve done to themselves in time.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Thunder
    (31 votes)
  • 44%
    Rockets
    (25 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now