The NBA playoffs are underway as every team has played between 2-3 games in their best of seven series. Four games will be up on the board throughout August 22. One of these games will be between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. These two teams will look to earn a big win in Game 3. This game will tip off at around 6:00 PM Eastern time.
The Rockets finished out the regular season with a record of 44-28, which had them finish in fourth place of the Western Conference. Houston went 4-4 throughout the seeding games, which helped them leapfrog into the fourth seed in the West. The Rockets now have a solid 2-0 series lead, which they will look to extend with a Game 3 win.
Oklahoma City also finished out the regular season with a record of 44-28, which had them in fifth place of the Western Conference. The Thunder went 4-4 throughout the seeding games, which had them stay in the same seeding spot. Oklahoma City has struggled a bit in this series, dropping down 2-0 in this series. The Thunder will look to closer that gap with a huge win in Game 3.
These two teams have a lot of history with each other recently, which makes me believe that this will be a strong series throughout. The Thunder have had a tough start to the series, but I do not expect their team to have any quit. Oklahoma City will look to fix up their play a bit to try and earn a much needed win in Game 3.
Houston and Oklahoma City met up three times throughout the regular season. The Rockets won the first game of the season series, 116-112. The second game of the season series shifted to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder won 113-92. The third game of the season was on January 20, where the Thunder won 112-107.
The first game of this series was on August 18. Danilo Gallinari had a strong night, putting up 29 points. Chris Paul had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, but it was not enough. James Harden earned 37 points and 11 rebounds. Jeff Green added another 22 points off the bench. The Rockets were able to take the series lead with a 123-108 win.
Game 2 of this series was on August 20. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander found his game, dropping 31 points for the Thunder. Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul had 17 points and 14 points respectively, but it was not enough. James Harden finished with 21 points and 9 assists. The Rockets starting lineup combined for 79 points, which helped lead to a 111-98 win to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Rockets have dominated the first two games of this series, but Oklahoma City has had nice flashes of competition. The Thunder’s offense has struggled to find consistency though, which has put them in this hole. Oklahoma City will look to slow down Houston in this one, while the Rockets will look to keep the Thunder’s offense stifled.
Field Goal Percentage
The Rockets did not have the best shooting percentage throughout this season. Houston made around 45.1 percent of their shots from the field, which was not great. In the playoffs, the Rockets have only made around 45 percent of their shots from the field. Houston has also made 36.1 percent of their three point shots, while shooting the most from deep this postseason.
Oklahoma City finished out the regular season with a top ten field goal percentage. The Thunder made around 46.8 percent of their shots from the field. In the postseason, Oklahoma City is making around 44.2 percent of their shots from the field. The Thunder have made 35.8 percent of their shots from deep in the playoffs as well.
These two teams have shot very similarly in this series so far. Oklahoma City’s numbers are slightly lower than the Rockets, but they are both close. The Thunder need to clean up their game a bit and slow down Houston’s three point production. If Oklahoma City can close out on the perimeter, it could turn the tides in this series.
James Harden has helped lead his team in Russell Westbrook’s absence. Harden is averaging 29 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists per game. Jeff Green is averaging 18.5 points per game off the bench throughout this series. Eric Gordan has averaged 18 points, while Danuel House is averaging 14 points per game. P.J. Tucker and Ben McLemore are both averaging over 10 points in this series as well.
Danilo Gallinari has been the best player scoring wise for Oklahoma City in this series. Gallinari has averaged 23 points per game in the two games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 20 points per game in this series. Chris Paul has averaged 17 points per game, while Steven Adams is averaging 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in the two games.
The Thunder need Dennis Schroder to step up off the bench in this series. Schroder has been a great sixth man since coming to Oklahoma City, now the Thunder need him to find his game to help lead Oklahoma City’s bench. If Schroder can step up in this series, it could give the Thunder the necessary edge to take Game 3.
Houston has earned a strong 2-0 series, but I believe that the Thunder have a good opportunity to pull this series within one on Saturday night. Oklahoma City is shooting very similarly to the Rockets, and if they can clean up their game a bit, it will give them a good chance to earn a win. I like the Thunder’s chances to bounce back in this one.
BetOnline has Houston listed at a -155 against the money line. This implies that the Rockets will win this game around 61 percent of the time. I think that this line should be much closer. I think that Oklahoma City has a chance to settle in for Game 3 of this series and as big underdogs, they have a lot of value. If the Thunder make some small adjustments, I think they are right back in this series.