Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Will the Rockets’ unique style of play work in the playoffs?
- The Oklahoma City Thunder beat almost every sportsbook by making the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
- The Rockets and Thunder have met in the playoffs twice since 2013.
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Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets Odds
|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||-2 -112||O 225 -112||-127|
|Houston Rockets||+2 -109||U 225 -109||+108|
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Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets Predictions and Picks
Here’s a tough pick if there ever were one. The Thunder has everything on paper to beat the Rockets, but Houston has the efforts of two league MVP’s to power their performance. It’s the underdog for us, as the veteran Houston Rockets should humble the upstart Thunder.
Houston Rockets def. Oklahoma City Thunder +108
Rockets +2 -109
Over 225 -112
How to Watch Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets
|Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets Information|
|What||Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL|
|When||Tuesday, August 18th, 2020; 6:30 PM EST|
|How to Watch/Listen||TNT|
Head-to-Head: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Head-to-Head||Houston Rockets|
|Billy Donovan||Head Coach||Mike D’Antoni|
|44-28 (5th in West, 9th Overall)||Standing||44-28 (4th in West, 8th Overall)|
|110.8 (16th of 30)||Off Rtg||112.9 (6th of 30)|
|108.8 (7th of 30)||Def Rtg||110.1 (14th of 30)|
|98.8 (22nd of 30)||Pace||103.7 (3rd of 30)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|S. Gilgeous-Alexander (19.0)||PPG||J. Harden (34.3)|
|S. Adams (9.3)||RPG||R. Covington (8.0)|
|C. Paul (6.7)||APG||J. Harden (7.5)|
|C. Paul (1.6)||SPG||J. Harden (1.8)|
|N. Noel (1.5)||BPG||R. Covington (2.2)|
|N. Noel (.684)/D. Schroeder (7.0)||FG%/FGM||T. Chandler (.778)/R. Westbrook (10.6)|
|D. Gallinari (.405)/D. Gallinari (2.9)||3P%/3PM||B. McLemore (.400)/J. Harden (4.4)|
Will the Thunder’s Defence Hold?
The Oklahoma City Thunder define themselves by their team effort and cohesiveness on both ends of the court. They’ll be tested by a Houston Rockets team that plays in a way that is unique amongst the top tier in the NBA.
The Thunder had one of the leagues best defenses since the season restart. Billy Donovan’s team held opponents to 109.7 points per game, 44.9% from the field, and 30.1% from three. Their intensity on defense wasn’t always matched by their offensive production, but it showed a new side to the Thunder.
Against a Rockets team that pushes the pace and looks to score, the Thunder’s defense will see their greatest test of the season. Houston’s small-ball line-up has been successful but is not without its weaknesses.
Can the Rockets Win While Losing the Paint Battle?
The Houston Rockets went 4-4 during the seeding schedule and a lot of the blame goes toward the game plan more than the players’ performance. Without a true center on the court at any time for Houston, they have been dominated on the boards.
In their eight seeding games, the Houston Rockets were outrebounded 54.6 to 39.1. It’s obvious that the Rockets are looking to run and not really defend the paint, but it is also boosting opponents’ shooting percentages to an average of 46.9%.
Their best rebounders have been James Harden and Robert Covington, who have both averaged 8.3 rebounds per game. Simply put, the Rockets don’t have a single player that can challenge Steven Adams on the glass. It will be up to D’Antoni to prove that his brand of offense can overcome tried and true methods of play.
Thunder Key Player: (G) Chris Paul
Year fifteen vs year one.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) August 13, 2020
Despite being 35 years old, Chris Paul is showing off the timeless nature of his game. Upon the season’s restart, Paul led his team in scoring, assists, and steals in just 29 minutes per game.
It will be a heated affair, as Paul was shipped to the Thunder in exchange for Westbrook because Houston thought he couldn’t lead them to playoff success.
Paul is known for a rather petty nature, but with that pettiness comes fantastic production. If Paul can continue to masterfully orchestrate the Thunder’s offence, they could upset his former team in Game One.
Rockets Key Player: (F) Robert Covington
Y los Rockets empatan el partido. Ay, Mavs. pic.twitter.com/IrZkzsZo1a
— Gonzalo Vázquez (@GVazquezNY) August 1, 2020
Robert Covington has been named the Houston Rockets’ utility defender. At 6’8 he has decent size on the perimeter and in paint and has been, largely, successful since the season restart.
Covington is averaging just 9.5 points per game on 33.3% from the field, but his 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.6 blocks have more than made up for his paltry shooting. Covington will be doing most of the grunt work, as their sole “big man” on the court.
In order to help the Rockets’ success, Covington must find his shooting stroke. Outpacing teams is well and fine, but as the biggest player on the court for the Rockets, drawing out opposing centers to the three-point line will be crucial.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]