For the second night in a row, the Orlando bubble will feature a Game 7. Houston and OKC will battle on Wednesday for the right to play the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been off since the weekend.
The “home” team has won all six games in this series, with Houston winning two, OKC winning two, and the teams then splitting the last two. To think that James Harden and Chris Paul would be on opposing teams, each one win away from eliminating the other just a year after the two were teammates, is crazy.
The NBA has always been a place where amazing things happened, and this year’s playoffs have proved no different. There have been some fantastic series played in the West, with young stars emerging as superstars inside the bubble. The amount of talented second, third, and fourth-year guys in this NBA is truly something to marvel at.
The young man to watch tonight is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Still, he has proven to be a lethal player for the Thunder in just his second NBA season.
The spread for Wednesday’s series finale favors the Rockets by 5.5 points. The over/under is set at 217.5.
OKC Tries to Do the Undoable
It seemed that coming into this series, anything could happen. When OKC fell behind 0-2, though, things seemed tough. This was happening with Russell Westbrook being out for Houston, and things looked bleak for the Thunder. But they have won three of the past four games, continuing to play well in the clutch, to force this final game.
It’s all about how you execute when the game is on the line, and no team in the NBA this year is better than the Thunder in those situations. Paul leads the NBA in clutch points (points scored in the final five minutes with a team’s deficit being five or less). Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Schroder will hope to deliver one more time.
OKC hasn’t advanced in the playoffs since Kevin Durant left. That could finally change with a win tonight.
Houston Trying to Hang On
While the Rockets have had a great record since going to super small ball and trading Clint Capela, they are in some big trouble right now. They have lost three of four games, and Westbrook has not looked very good since returning to the lineup. They have advanced in the playoffs every year under Mike D’Antoni. But this is different.
With no big man to get easy baskets, and OKC’s defense being airtight, things have been challenging. The Rockets have played horribly in close games, while the Thunder have thrived. The keys to victory for them are pretty simple.
Get Harden going early, get a good game from Jeff Green, and keep Westbrook involved for Houston. If he’s in rhythm, it could be better than it was last game.
And the Winner Is…
Houston. OKC will fall a few hairs short, seeing their season end in round one for the fourth year in a row. It will be close, but not close enough for them.
FREE PLAY: HOU -5.5
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