Houston Rockets – Oklahoma City Thunder Game 6 Preview
The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder. If the Rockets can beat the Thunder, they will have come back from being down 3-to-0, to tie the series 3-to-3. In the history of the NBA, not one team has even been able to come back from a 3 – 0 deficit, the Rockets could be the first.
James Harden is almost meeting Kevin Durant offensively in the past two games. Without Russell Westbrook, the Rockets have been able to expose the Thunder. If the Thunder can’t figure out how to shutdown the Rockets, Game 6 will belong to the Rockets.
The Thunder are used to having an offensive system dependent on Durant and Westbrook. With Westbrook out of the series indefinitely, now that it’s shifted almost solely to Durant, the Rockets are better able to mange the Thunder.
The Thunder have been unable to evolve to meet the difficulties they are going to face without Westbrook, while the Rockets are improving every night and working on the lowest payroll in the entire league. Jeremy Lin is out with a chest bruise but the Rockets have worked with it. If the Thunder can’t make up for the deficit from Westbrook’s absence, they won’t just lose this game; they might be eliminated by the No. 8 seeded team.
The Rockets are doing an impeccable job defending Durant; every time he wants to drive to the basket, he has to get through multiple defenders. The Rockets had 16 team rebounds to the Thunder’s 7. Serge Ibaka is ineffective. He’s responsible for almost all of the team’s rebounding but his defense is suffering.
The Rockets are playing great offence and defense through injuries and illness and the Thunder are failing to rise up to the challenge they’re presenting. The Thunder tried a foul tactic as a last resort on Omer Asik in Game 5 but he went 8-for-12 at the charity line. Durants 36 points didn’t make a difference when Harden put up 31, plus five other players were in double digit scoring.
The Thunder have great players while the Rockets have great players and a great team. To win Game 6, the Rockets just have to continue what they’re doing, while the Thunder have to find a winning strategy in they’re new post-Westbrook reality.