Tip-Off: 7 PM CT

Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, OK)

Television: FSOK

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game

Merry Christmas, Thunder fans! Today might be the most important game of the season so far for Oklahoma City, and a win over the visiting Houston Rockets would be a great Christmas present for the Thunder organization and all of its fans.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets had essentially the same expectations coming into this season. Both teams made substantial moves in the offseason as both organizations worked to put together a challenger for the Golden State Warriors. While basically all the moves made were deemed early successes, the results on the court have been startlingly different.

The Thunder has had a rough go of things through the first third of the season, but they appear to be turning the corner as they have put together a solid month of basketball. Oklahoma City holds the fifth-best record in the NBA in December at 10-3, and after starting the season 1-9 in clutch games, the Thunder has gone 8-1 since.

The Rockets have had a lot more success. Despite Chris Paul missing half of Houston’s games so far, the Rockets have the best record in the NBA. James Harden is having another MVP-type season, and Houston looks like a legitimate contender for the West. Houston is currently on a two-game losing streak, and they haven’t lost three in a row all season, but the Thunder will try to change that tonight.

Projected Starters

Thunder

  • PG: Russell Westbrook
  • SG: Andre Roberson
  • SF: Paul George
  • PF: Carmelo Anthony
  • C: Steven Adams

Rockets

  • PG: James Harden
  • SG: Eric Gordon
  • SF: Trevor Ariza
  • PF: Ryan Anderson
  • C: Clint Capela

Injuries

Thunder

  • None

Rockets

  • Chris Paul (left abductor strain) is doubtful.
  • Clint Capela (left heel contusion) is questionable.
  • Luc Mbah a Moute (right shoulder dislocation) is out.
  • Troy Williams (right knee MCL sprain) is out.

Head-to-Head

  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 14-19 against the Rockets in the regular season (10-7 at home, 4-12 on the road).
  • In nine seasons, the Thunder has won the season series with the Rockets three times, lost it four times, and tied twice.
  • The Rockets won the regular season series with the Thunder 3-1 last season. The Rockets also knocked the Thunder out of the first round of the playoffs, winning that series 4-1.
  • Three of the regular season meetings between Oklahoma City and Houston a season ago were decided by three points or fewer.
  • The Rockets have won nine of the last 12 meetings with the Thunder.
  • This is the first of three meetings between the Thunder and the Rockets this season.

Game Notes

  • Oklahoma City has won four games in a row, the longest winning streak of the season for the Thunder, while Houston has lost two in a row, which is tied for the longest losing streak of the season for the Rockets.
  • Oklahoma City is 7-3 in the last ten games, while Houston is 8-2.
  • Oklahoma City is 12-4 at home, while Houston is 12-1 on the road.
  • Oklahoma City is 10-9 against the Western Conference, while Houston is 14-4.
  • Oklahoma City is 11-9 in games where there is one day of rest, while Houston is 2-0 when there are two days of rest.
  • The Thunder’s four-game win streak is the longest active streak in the Western Conference and the second-longest in the NBA.
  • Oklahoma City is 4-3 on Christmas Day (3-1 at home, 1-2 on the road).
  • The home team is 142-75 in Christmas Day games.

Be sure to check out our latest episode of Thunder Things with the Thunder Guys.

Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter & Instagram, and give us a like on Facebook.