OKC Thunder | Round 1, Game 3 Preview: Houston Rockets

Tip-Off: 5 PM CT

Location: The Field House (Orlando, Florida)

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

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

The Oklahoma City Thunder has dug an 0-2 hole in the series, and Game 3 is essentially a must-win. If the Thunder wants to have any chance at coming back to win the series, their adjustments for Game 3 are going to be the key.

Billy Donovan hasn’t seen success in the postseason since the 2016 Western Conference Finals, and after 3 straight first round exits, a change would be nice. Donovan and the Thunder have struggled to decode the enigma that is Houston’s small-ball lineup, and while they have found success in moments, they have yet to put it together for a full game.

The key to tonight’s game is finding a consistency on offense while continuing to play solid defense. Offensively, OKC has had no flow whatsoever, and that’s largely due to the fact that the Thunder has gone away from the success that they had in the regular season in exchange for trying to play Houston’s style of basketball.

Defensively, the Thunder has done a decent job, but the Rockets make life difficult on that end of the court. Houston almost exclusively shoots from downtown or in the paint, and with more than half of their field goal attempts coming from three-point land, they’re bound to make some, regardless of how poorly they’re shooting.

Game 3 is going to require a total team effort on both ends of the court, and if they can’t show some established adjustment early in this one, then it might be time to call the series a wrap.

Projected Starters


  • PG: Chris Paul
  • SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • SF: Luguentz Dort
  • PF: Danilo Gallinari
  • C: Steven Adams


  • PG: James Harden
  • SG: Eric Gordon
  • SF: Danuel House Jr.
  • PF: Robert Covington
  • C: P.J. Tucker



  • NONE


  • Luc Mbah A Moute (left knee effusion) is OUT.
  • Russell Westbrook (right quad strain) is OUT.


  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 21-22 against the Rockets in the regular season (14-8 at home, 7-14 on the road) and 5-8 against the Rockets in the playoffs (3-2 at home, 2-6 on the road).
  • The Thunder has won the season series with the Rockets 6 times, lost it 4 times, and tied 2 times.
  • The Thunder won the regular season series against the Rockets this season 2-1 (1-0 at home, 1-1 on the road).

Game Notes

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