The Houston Rockets hit the road Thursday night to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game that will feature a few reunions.
It’s a big matchup, as Russell Westbrook returns to his long-time team for the first time. The video tribute for Thursday night’s game is bound to make the tears flow, though Westbrook has never been one to show anything but competitiveness over the course of a game.
He and James Harden have both been playing some fantastic basketball this season, as the team has gotten out to a 25-11 beginning. The end goal is an NBA title, of course, and off their win over Atlanta Wednesday night, the Rockets have some nice momentum coming into this game.
Oklahoma City has been very tough to beat on its home court this year, and Chris Paul is definitely eager to show his old teammates that he truly does not miss them. He, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder have formed quite the point guard trio in 2019-20, playing well on the court together.
The Thunder are again without Danilo Gallinari, who is sitting with a knee injury, while Nerlens Noel continues to rehab his knee. Oklahoma City is going to need a productive game off the bench from Mike Muscala.
The spread has the visiting Rockets as 3.5-point favorites, while the over/under is set at 226.5 points.
Trying To Build On The Win
Shooting just 9-of-34 from the floor Wednesday night, Harden still managed to find a way to post a 40-point triple-double, making magic at the foul line. Clint Capela is playing the best basketball of his career after being in trade rumors all summer, grabbing rebounds as well as almost anyone else in the league.
Eric Gordon has come back healthy finally and is stroking the deep ball all over the floor along with Ben McLemore. PJ Tucker continues to be a tough defender who is starting to rebound the ball relatively effectively.
This is a team that thrives on the three-pointer and does not play too well when it isn’t dropping. With Westbrook back on Thursday night and trying to prove something to his old squad, look for him to aggressively try to make plays for teammates.
Greeting Old Friends
Paul had one of his best halves in years against the Nets in the team’s last game and will be looking to build on it. The Thunder battled Philadelphia tough, and, though they couldn’t walk away with the win, they did make sure to get the positives from the game before then picking up a win against Brooklyn.
Steven Adams has been playing some fantastic basketball of late, while Hamidou Diallo has brought some positive energy into games off the bench in his recent return. If only they could get production of any kind from Terrance Ferguson in the stats.
They will need to replace Gallinari’s minutes with scoring, or this game may be tough. He is far and away the Thunder’s best three-point shooter, and he’ll be missed.
Houston Wins In Westbrook’s Return
It’s a good day to be the Rockets, as they’ll get the road win. Houston gets its 26th victory in 37 games, ignited by Harden and Westbrook triple-doubles.
Free Play: HOU -3.5
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