One of the most exciting days of NBA action every season is on Christmas Day. This season there will be five games on December 25. One of the games will be between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets. The game will be on ABC at 3:00 PM Eastern.
The Thunder are coming into Tuesday’s game with a record of 21-11. Oklahoma City is currently sitting in second place of the Western Conference standings. The Thunder lost their last game to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but have won four of their last five. Tuesday’s game will be the third game in four night’s for Oklahoma City, which could lead to a little fatigue for the Thunder.
Houston had a slower start to the season, but have picked up their play recently to battle back into the playoff picture. The Rockets have a record of 17-15, which has them sitting in seventh place of the Western Conference. Houston has won six of their last seven games. The Rockets will look to keep the strong play up with a win on Christmas Day.
Tuesday’s matchup will be the second of four games between the Thunder and the Rockets this season. Oklahoma City and Houston will meet two more times on February 9 and April 9. Both teams have been playing really well recently, which should help lead to an exciting game on Tuesday.
Houston and Oklahoma City met up a total of three times last season. The first game between these two teams was on Christmas Day. The Thunder hosted the game. James Harden had 29 points and 14 assists. Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordan each dropped 20, but it was not enough. Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and 11 assists, while Paul George added another 24. Houston’s bench did not have a good night and it led to a 112-107 win for the Thunder.
The second game of the season series was hosted by Oklahoma City again. Russell Westbrook had another big performance with 32 points. Carmelo Anthony had 23 points, but the Thunder could not get the win at home. Chris Paul had 25 points and the Rockets starting lineup combined for 83 points. Houston was able to finish with a 122-112 win on the road.
The third and final game of the season series shifted to Houston. James Harden dropped 26 points and 9 assists. Chris Paul put up another 17 points and 9 assists for the Rockets. Russell Westbrook and Paul George each scored 24 points, while Carmelo Anthony was able to score another 22 points. Oklahoma City was able to pull off the road upset off by a score of 108-102.
The first game of this season’s series was hosted by Oklahoma City. James Harden had 19 points, while Clint Capela had another 17. The Rockets did not get much help though from the rest of the lineup and it showed in the final score. Paul George had 20 points and 11 rebounds. Steven Adams also had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Thunder finished with a 98-80 win.
Oklahoma City has gone 3-1 against the Rockets during last season and the beginning of this season. Houston finished last season as the top team in the NBA, but the Thunder were still able to put up a 2-1 record against them last season. Oklahoma City will look to replicate their success against Houston with another win on Tuesday.
The Thunder have been led by the duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook. George is averaging 26 points and 8 rebounds per game this season. Westbrook has averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists per game this season. Steven Adams has done a solid job locking up the Center spot. Adams is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. Dennis Schroder has added a much-needed spark off the bench. He has averaged 16.5 points per game this season.
James Harden has elevated his play recently and it has shown in the Rockets record. Harden has averaged 32 points and 8.5 assists per game this season. Clint Capela has had a solid season at the Center spot. He is averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds per game. Eric Gordan has been having another solid season, averaging 15 points per game for the Rockets.
Westbrook and Harden will likely see a lot of time against each other, which always provides some excitement. I expect both players to have big nights offensively. Clint Capela and Steven Adams are both solid defensive Centers and they should have a nice battle in the paint. Without Chris Paul in the lineup though, Oklahoma City could take advantage of the hole in the lineup.
The Thunder and the Rockets are both coming into Christmas Day’s matchup playing really well, which should lead to this game living up to the hype. Houston is without Chris Paul, which will sting, but I believe they can still win this game at home. Oklahoma City is playing their third game in four nights, which could make them a little tired. On top of that Houston is at home and they have been a good team at home recently.
BetOnline has the Rockets listed as a -1 against the spread. This means that if Houston wins, the worst you can do is push. I believe that the Rockets will take advantage of their recent strong play and beat a tired Thunder lineup. I believe that Houston gets some revenge against Oklahoma City, who has beat them in three of the last four games. I am taking the Rockets against the spread at home.