Tip-Off: 7 PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Television: FSOK, ESPN
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
PF Ryan Anderson is a big man who is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. He averages 12.9 points and 5.5 rebounds a game, but he’s capable of having a big night when called upon. Anderson is shooting 40% from three so far this season, so Domantas Sabonis needs to make sure that he’s aware inside the paint as well as out around the perimeter.
Keys to the Game
- Defend For Four Quarters: Houston leads the league in points per game and three pointers made, ranks third in assists per game and field goal percentage, and ranks fifth in three-point percentage. Needless to say, the Rockets are one of the most explosive teams offensively in the NBA, and the Thunder defense are going to have their hands full. If the Oklahoma City backcourt can effectively protect the perimeter, the rest of the defense will follow suit.
- Don’t Fear the Beard: James Harden has been an all-around offensive machine so far this season averaging 28.5 points, 11.4 assists, and 7.5 rebounds a game. However, when the Rockets visited Oklahoma City a little under a month ago, Harden was held to only 13 points on 4/16 shooting. He did have 13 assists and 7 rebounds, but he was rendered ineffective shooting the ball. The Thunder need to suffocate Harden on defense and keep the ball out of his hands as he is extremely capable of making plays.
- Control the Game: Oklahoma City continues to rank near the bottom of the league in turnovers with 15.8 per game, but fortunately for the Thunder, so do the Rockets with 16.3 per game. Like Oklahoma City, Houston likes to play fast, uptempo basketball. The Rockets average 16.8 fast break points per game. The Thunder needs to control the game from tip-off by taking care of the ball on offense and slowing down the Rockets while on defense. If they can do that, they will be in a good position to win the game.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.