This is an entertaining match in NBA between Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center, the home of Rockets. This is a principal duel, as these teams have met in playoffs a few times before. Please, review our thoughts on this match, here below.
Currently, Houston is in the 5th seed of the Western Conference standings (32-22). Rockets are looking good, as they are on 3 games winning streak. Houston is a team, that plays very high tempo basketball and shoots a bunch of three-pointers. In fact, Houston leads the league in three-pointers attempted and made (15.4 3PM/44.4 3PA per game). Recently, Rockets signed a contract with Kenneth Faried, which gives them more power in the paint.
As Clint Capela is injured, KF fits very well in Houston’s system and is already giving results for them. Rockets current leaders are: James Harden (36.5ppg, 6.8rpg, 7.9apg), Eric Gordon (16.2ppg, 2.0apg), Kenneth Faried (16.1ppg, 10.2rpg) and Chris Paul (15.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 7.9apg). James Harden is red hot lately. He averaged 43.6 points per game in January and is going for this back-to-back MVP award. On the other hand, Harden is getting a lot of criticism for his one-and-done playstyle and sometimes it really has a negative impact on his team’s results. But for now, he is a leading scorer in the whole NBA and is a huge problem for every team on the defensive end. Houston is a hard team to beat at Toyota center as they are 17-8 at home.
Currently, Oklahoma is in the 3rd seed of the Western Conference standings (35-19). Thunder is on winning rampage lately, as they won 9 out of their last 10 games. Oklahoma’s game mainly stands on 5 leading players, as all of them are scoring above 13ppg, but next player in scoring stats averages the only 6.6ppg. This shows us, that OKC does not have any depth and their game depends on a few players performances.
On the other hand, we can not show to much criticism, as this has been working this season. Paul George is getting it done lately, as many analytics are including him to regular season MVP conversations. He is simply carrying the team and is the main reason for Thunder’s success this season. In last 10 games, he is averaging 34.0ppg, 7.2rpg, 4.3apg, 2.6stpg. Great all around performance lately and some people said that he is the main contender for this year DPoY award. Oklahoma’s leaders this season are: Paul George (28.0ppg, 7.9rpg, 4.0apg, 2.3stpg), Russell Westbrook (21.2ppg, 11.1rpg, 11,2apg, 2.3stpg), Dennis Schroder (15.7ppg, 4.2apg), Steven Adams (15.2ppg, 9.7apg). Oklahoma is playing decent on road (16-12).
This has been a huge rivalry for about 2 years. These teams saw each other in the playoffs a few times and James Harden and Russell Westbrook were main contenders for regular season MVP award couple past years. This is going to be a tough game as Houston should run a fast offense and OKC will try to slow down the pace. These teams saw each other on Christmas day game last time. Rockets came out on top 109-113. The leaders for Rockets were: James Harden (41pts, 6rebs, 7ass), and Eric Gordon (17pts, 6rebs, 4ass). OKC’s leading scorers: Paul George (28pts, 14rebs), Russell Westbrook (21pts, 9rebs, 9ass) and Steven Adams (17pts, 7rebs).
Houston will really miss Clint Capela in this game, as Steven Adams is a very physical and tough rebounder. Houston’s only hope is that Kenneth Faried will have a good game. If not, Rockets will have a lot of problems in the paint. Alex Abrines of Oklahoma City Thunder is questionable. It would be bad news for OKC if he won’t play, as OKC will lose even more depth.