Watch Now:
Best Bets: Thunder vs. Rockets
(2:04)

The Houston Rockets got off to a very strong start in this series. They won Games 1 and 2 and appeared poised to make short work of the Thunder. However, Oklahoma City, led by veteran point guard Chris Paul, showed a lot of resilience and bounced back and won Games 3 and 4. The Thunder were the most clutch team during the regular season, and that skill has come in handy in this series, as Oklahoma City won the last game by just three points. Both teams will be looking to pull ahead in Game 5. 

The Rockets could get a massive boost on Wednesday night as All-Star guard Russell Westbrook is expected to test his strained quadriceps on the court prior to Game 5 and then make a game-time decision on playing, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Westbrook hasn’t played yet in the series against his former franchise, and the Rockets have greatly missed his ability to get out in transition and generate offense. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Game 5 between the Rockets and Thunder.     

Viewing information

  • Date: Wednesday, Aug. 26 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Disney Wide World of Sports — Orlando, Florida
  • TV: TNT
  • Odds: Rockets -4 | Over/Under: 225 (via William Hill Sportsbook)

Storylines

Rockets: As they have the whole time Mike D’Antoni has been their head coach, the Rockets have lived and died by the long ball in this series. When the team is connecting from deep at a reasonable rate, it’s very tough to topple. However, the Rockets become very vulnerable when their shots aren’t dropping. In Game 4, they missed 35 3-pointers, and made just 4-of-19 attempts from deep in the fourth quarter. It’s tough to win when you’re missing shots at that rate. The Rockets will have to hope that they can convert a bit better in Game 5 if they want to walk away with a win. 

Thunder: OKC continues to surprise this season. After losing Westbrook and Paul George over the offseason, very few expected Oklahoma City to even be in the hunt for a playoff spot, let alone clinching the fifth spot. Now, they Thunder are just two wins away from moving on to the second round. Those last two wins will be very tough to achieve, though, especially if Westbrook returns for Houston. As they have all series, the Thunder will need to lean on Chris Paul’s experience and decision making down the stretch, and hope that other key contributors like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder continue to make shots. 

Prediction

After two straight losses, the Rockets should be very determined to stop the bleeding in Game 5. Plus, Houston has been playing this entire series without its second-best player. The return of Russell Westbrook would provide the Rockets with a big boost, and it would be enough to lift them over the Thunder on Wednesday night. Pick: Rockets -4

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here