NBA Playoffs Preview: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder

2013 NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #2
#8 Houston Rockets at #1 Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -10 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -11 1/2
Opening Total: 212
Current Total: 212 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -1000 / Rockets +700
Current Money Line: Thunder -1000 / Rockets +700

The Thunder are heavy favorites against the Rockets in game #2 Wednesday night.

The Thunder are heavy favorites against the Rockets in game #2 Wednesday night.

Much was made of James Harden and the Houston Rockets taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Harden was acquired in a trade just a few days before the regular season for the Thunder, for salary cap reasons as OKC didn’t want to pay the harsh luxury tax penalty if they resigned him. Well Harden showed up for game #1 of the series Monday, but he didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates.

The Thunder took an early 11 point lead Sunday, opening the game on a 13-2 run. However, Houston would go on their own 13-2 run to tie it up. It looked like it would be a close game at halftime, but the Thunder closed the second on a 14-1 run to take a 13 point lead at the half. The Thunder would never be challenged in the second half. OKC would roll to a 120-91 win. Harden didn’t even play in the 4th quarter, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook also played limited minutes in the fourth for the Thunder because of the rout. The Rockets scored 15 points under their season average and shot 36% from the field.

Oklahoma City is 3-1 this season against Houston. All three Thunder wins this season against the Rockets have come by at least 22 points.

Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. Houston is 41-41-1 ATS and the total is 41-42 this season.  The Rockets are outscoring teams 106-103 this season. The Rockets are second in the league in scoring but are #28 in points allowed. The Rockets are shooting 46.1% from the field and 36.6% from 3 point range. Houston is #9 in the league in both categories. The Rockets make 75.4% of their free throws. Houston averages 43.4 rebounds and gives up 41.6 per game. The Rockets are in the top 11 in both categories. Houston opponents  are shooting 45.4% from the field and 36.7% from 3 point range. The Rockets average 23.2 assists, 8.3 steals, 4.4 blocks, and 15.8 turnovers per game.

Harden averages 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Harden finished 5th in the league in scoring, behind Carmelo Anthony, Durant, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. Small forward Chandler Parsons averages 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal a game. Point guard Jeremy Lin averages 13.4 points, 3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Shooting guard Carlos Delfino averages 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal a game. Center Omer Asik averages 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Francisco Garcia, Donatas Motiejunas, Greg Smith, Thomas Robinson, and Terrance Jones make up the rest of the rotation.

Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. The Thunder are 50-31-2 ATS and the total is 37-44-2 this season. Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 106-97 this season. The Thunder are #3 in scoring and #9 in points allowed. OKC is shooting 48.1% from the field and 37.7% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in both categories. Oklahoma City leads the league in free throw shooting at 82.8%. The Thunder average 43.6 rebounds per game and give up 40.7 per game. They are #6 in both rebounding and rebounds allowed. OKC opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #2 in opponents’ field goal percentage, and #6 in three point defense. Oklahoma City averages 21.4 assists, 8.3 steals, 7.6 blocks, and 14.6 turnovers per game.

Forward Kevin Durant averages 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Durant lost the scoring title to Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony by six tenths of a point. Guard Russell Westbrook averages 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Guard Kevin Martin averages 14 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He is probable with a back injury. Martin was acquired in the Harden trade. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 13.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. Guard Thabo Sefolosha averages 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Nick Collison, Ronnie Brewer, Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Jackson and Hasheem Thabeet  make up the rest of the rotation. The Thunder signed veteran point guard Derek Fisher late in the regular season for the playoff run.

Houston is 2-5 ATS after a straight up loss, and in Wednesday games, 1-6 overall and against Western Conference teams, 1-5 against teams with winning records, 1-4 after failing to cover, in Conference quarterfinal games, and against Northwest Division teams, 0-4 after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, and in road games, and 0-5 on 2 days rest. Four of the last five have gone over the total in the series, and the over is 5-2 in Oklahoma City in the series recently.

Oklahoma City is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 in Wednesday games, 13-4 against teams with losing road records, 17-6 at home, 19-7-1 against Southwest Division teams, 7-3 overall, 44-19-3 against Western Conference teams, 17-8 after scoring 100 points or more, and 3-7 when the opponent allowed 100 points or more. The home team is 11-3 ATS in the last 14 in this series. The Thunder are 6-1 ATS at home recently against the Rockets.

Unless Harden gets some help this will be a short series. He scored 20 points, and no other Rocket scored more than 11. The Thunder seem locked in after losing in the Finals last year. I see another rout tonight for Oklahoma City.

Our NBA handicappers are red hot this season. Don’t miss out on any more winners from until the end of the Finals in Junes.

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Posted by on Apr 24 2013. Filed under Headlines, NBA. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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