Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder

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After blowing out the Lakers, the Rockets head to Oklahoma City for the second time this season. The Rockets are led in both scoring and assists by James Harden (28.5 points and 11.4 assists per game), and in rebounding by Clint Capela, who pulls in 8.5 rebounds a game. The Rockets now rank third (tied) in offensive rating, 21st in defensive rating, and 7th in net rating.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have impressed this season, sitting at 14-8 so far this season. The Thunder are led in all three categories by Russell Westbrook, who is averaging an insane 31 points, 11.3 assists, and 10.9 assists a game. The Thunder rank 17th in offensive rating, 7th in defensive rating, and 13th in net rating.

Starting Lineups

The Rockets are likely to continue to start with James Harden at point guard, Patrick Beverley at shooting guard, Trevor Ariza at small forward, Ryan Anderson at power forward, and Clint Capela at center, with Eric Gordon getting starter’s minutes.

The Thunder's starters are all healthy going into Friday's game. The Thunder will start Russell Westbrook at point guard, Victor Oladipo at shooting guard, Andre Roberson at small forward, Domantas Sabonis at power forward, and Steven Adams at center.

Three Things to Watch

  • MVP vs MVP - This game features two guys who are on top of most people's MVP ladders, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook won the first match up, now watch to see if Harden can prove his case for MVP against the other front runner.

  • Roberson: Harden stopper?- In the last match-up between these two teams, the Thunder matched Harden's minutes with Andre Roberson's, in an attempt to slow James down, and it worked. Harden shot just 4/16 against Roberson while scoring 13 points and turning the ball over 6 times. Watch to see if the first game was a fluke or if Roberson has figured Harden out.

  • Turnovers galore!  – The Rockets (27th) and Thunder (23rd) are both in the bottom third of the NBA, when it comes to taking care of the ball. Watch to see if either team can limit their turnovers and take advantage of the other teams', or we may see an ugly game on Friday.


Prediction and Tip-Off

After the Rockets blew the last game between the two, scoring only once in the last seven minutes of the game, I still thought the Rockets were the better team. I think the Rockets will make up for their early season blunder, and come out of OKC with a close win, stretching their win streak to 5 games.

Tip-off will be at 7:00 P.M. Central Time at in Oklahoma City on Friday, December 9th. The game will be televised on ESPN, with the radio broadcast on Sports Talk 790-AM.

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