The NBA is set up with a solid night of action on Monday night. Two games will be up on the board throughout August 31. One of the games will be between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. These two teams have met in a tight series so far, and I expect a good finish. This game will tip off at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on TNT.
The Rockets earned a record of 44-28 throughout the regular season, which had them in fourth place of the Western Conference. Houston put up a solid 4-4 record throughout the seeding games to secure this spot. The Rockets have now jumped out to a 3-2 series lead and will look to close out the Thunder with a big win in Game 6.
Oklahoma City finished out the regular season with a record of 44-28 as well, which had them in fifth place of the Western Conference. The Thunder also went 4-4 throughout the seeding games, which put them into this series with Houston. Oklahoma City is now one game from elimination and will look to force a Game 7 with a win on Monday night.
These two teams were neck and neck in the standings, which has shown throughout this series so far. Both teams have been back and forth all series long and I believe that this series could go the distance. The Thunder will look to put up another strong performance as they look to stay alive in this series.
Game 1 of this series was back on August 18. Danilo Gallinari dropped 29 points and Chris Paul had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, but it was not enough. James Harden finished with 37 points and 11 rebounds, while Jeff Green had 22 points off the bench. The Rockets ran away with Game 1 as they won 123-108.
Game 2 of this series was hosted on August 20. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a great night, putting up 31 points, but it still was not enough. James Harden finished with 21 points and 9 assists. The Rockets starting lineup combined for 79 points to propel Houston to a 111-98 win to take a 2-0 series lead.
The third game of this series was on August 22. James Harden put up 38 points, while Jeff Green had 22 points, but it was not enough this time. Dennis Schroder had 29 points off the bench. Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari all scored over 20 points as well as the Thunder bounced back with a 119-107 win.
The fourth game of this best of seven series was back on August 24. James Harden had another big performance, dropping 32 points and 15 assists. Eric Gordan had 23 points, but the Rockets fell short. Dennis Schroder had 30 points off the bench. Chris Paul put up another 26 points as Oklahoma City tied up the series with a 117-114 win.
The pivotal Game 5 of this series was on August 29. Oklahoma City’s offense struggled to get going, with Schroder leading them with 19 points. James Harden scored 31 points, while Robert Covington had 22 points. Eric Gordan added another 20 points as the Rockets finished with a 114-80 win to take the series lead back.
Field Goal Percentage
Houston has been doing alright when it comes to shooting this postseason. The Rockets have made around 43.8 percent of their shots from the field, which is eleventh of the sixteen playoff teams. Houston has also made 36.4 percent of their shots from behind the arc, which is also eleventh in the playoffs.
The Thunder have struggled to get any offense going in the playoffs. Oklahoma City has made around 42.5 percent of their shots from the field, which is thirteenth in the postseason. The Thunder have also made 30.1 percent of their shots from deep, which has put them in fifteenth of the sixteen playoff teams.
These two teams have not been great at shooting throughout the postseason, but Houston has done better. The Rockets will look to put up a better shooting performance in Game 6 to put away the Thunder. If Oklahoma City can finally find some groove, the Thunder will have a good chance to tie up this series.
James Harden has been dominating Oklahoma City in this series. Harden has averaged 32 points and 8 assists in this series. Eric Gordon is averaging 19.5 points per game, while Jeff Green has averaged 15.5 points off the bench in the playoffs. Danuel House is averaging 14 points, while Robert Covington has averaged 11 points per game in these five games.
Chris Paul has been the best player for the Thunder in this series. Paul is averaging 20.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. Dennis Schroder has averaged 19.5 points per game off the bench. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 17 points per game in the playoffs. Danilo Gallinari has averaged 15 points, while Steven Adams is averaging 11 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
These two teams have had nice scoring throughout their lineup, but it has been Harden that has pushed the Rockets over the edge. Houston will look for Russell Westbrook to step up after returning in Game 5. Westbrook scored 7 points in the Rockets Game 5 win and if he can step up in a bigger way in Game 6, it could give Houston the edge to pull off the win.
Oklahoma City is coming off a tough performance in Game 5 of this series, but they will look to bounce back in Game 6. The Thunder need to get their offense going on Monday night, which is doable against the Rockets defense. If Oklahoma City can frustrate Harden and Westbrook, they could force them both to take too many shots, which could give the Thunder an edge.
BetOnline has the Rockets listed as a -240 against the money line. This implies that Houston will win this game around 70.6 percent of the time. The Rockets have been the better team in this series, but this line is way too high. The Thunder have a strong team and I believe that they could take it to Houston. I like Oklahoma City’s chances to force a Game 7 and as huge underdogs, they have a lot of value.