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

A lot has happened since Wednesday, the original date for Game 5 of the First Round matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets. The NBA teams still remaining in the Bubble opted to sit out of their scheduled games in response to Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Wisconsin.

The players’ form of peaceful protest was met with mixed reactions across the country, but their efforts to bring about change were successful. After a number of meetings between players, owners, GMs, and even former U.S. President Barack Obama, a number of actions are taking place, including a social justice coalition, an effort to make NBA arenas official voting locations, and increased awareness of social issues via advertisements.

Now that players and the league have come to these agreements, the Playoffs are back on, and that means it’s time for the Thunder and the Rockets to meet for Game 5.

Little has changed concerning the series since Wednesday. The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a spectacular comeback against the Houston Rockets in Game 4 to tie the series up at 2-2 after falling behind 0-2 in the series through Games 1 and 2. One major change for the matchup is that Russell Westbrook, who has been sidelined for Games 1-4 with an injured right quad, is expected to make his return to the court for Game 5.

This could very well be the most important game of the series. 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: Russell Westbrook
  • SG: James Harden
  • 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 AVAILABLE.

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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