Tip-Off: 7:00 PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
SG James Harden is one of the few players in the NBA that will challenge Russell Westbrook for the league MVP, and rightfully so, as he’s averaging 30.3 points, 12.6 assists, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game so far. Andre Roberson will have his hands full defending Harden, but the Thunder bigs need to be aware of Harden’s ability to drive and get into the paint.
Keys to the Game
- START STRONG: This cannot be stressed enough. Slow starts, along with letdowns in the second quarter, have been key contributors to the Thunder’s four-game losing streak. Houston has the ability to score a lot of points, so Oklahoma City cannot afford to get down early.
- Lockdown Defense: Houston is one of the league’s best shooting teams from basically anywhere on the floor. Oklahoma City will need to keep James Harden from getting hot while also playing solid perimeter defense. The Rockets like to shoot a lot of threes, and they make 37.2% of them, so if the Thunder backcourt has a slow start, they are going to struggle to stay in the game.
- Help Russ: Oklahoma City has had its fair share of games where the ball movement and spacing have been top-notch, but Monday in Detroit was just a terrible collapse of any type of support for Russell Westbrook. Aside from Westbrook and Victor Oladipo, the other three starters took only eleven shots. Steven Adams, Domantas Sabonis, and even Andre Roberson are all capable scorers at times, so they have to step up. Also, it would not hurt if the bench unit could do something besides take horrendous shots and give up a lot of points.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.