Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC Thunder | Round 1, Game 5 Preview: Houston Rockets

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

Tip-Off: 5:30 PM CT

Location: The Field House (Orlando, Florida)

Television: TNT, Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

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

The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a spectacular comeback against the Houston Rockets in Game 4 to tie the series up at 2-2. The Rockets got off to a hot start in the second half, knocking down 8 consecutive threes to take a 15-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Thunder responded to trim the deficit to just 1 headed into the final period.

The fourth quarter featured 11 lead changes, but OKC managed to take and hold onto a lead with 1:34 left in the game. The Thunder’s clutch play has been the reason behind a number of wins in the regular season, and now it has fueled them to victory in two consecutive playoff games.

Russell Westbrook remains sidelined for Game 5 with an injured right quad, and with the series all tied up, this could very well be the most important game played so far. According to NBA Playoff history, when a series is tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the series 82.2% (171 of 208 series) of the time. The numbers are a little closer if you look at the last 2 seasons, with the Game 5 winner of a series tied at 2-2 going on to win the series 7 of 10 times.

Needless to say, the Thunder cannot risk losing this game, and based on the adjustments OKC has made, as slowly as they have come, they just might have begun to figure out how to beat Houston consistently.

Projected Starters

Thunder

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

Rockets

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

Injuries

Thunder

  • NONE

Rockets

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

Head-to-Head

  • 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 7-8 against the Rockets in the playoffs (5-2 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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