The Thunder will travel to Houston to take on the Rockets in a game that they are heavy underdogs in. The Thunder will be taking on two former MVP’s who use to play for them in Russell Westbrook and James Harden, this is the first time Westbrook has faced his former squad.
With the departure of Westbrook, the Oklahoma stat sheet has filled out a little different so far this season. 21-year-old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team in points with 24.3 per game. He is also averaging 6 rebounds and 3 assist per game. Steven Adams is leading the team in rebounds with 11.3 per game, he has also been getting 6 points per game from the five spot.
The Thunder have started this season 1-2 with their only win coming against the winless Golden State Warriors. They are averaging 100 points a game exactly, while giving up 96.3. After their big 28-point victory in their last game, the Thunder would like to keep momentum going in what would be an emotional win over two of their former players.
In their big win over the Warriors, the players who stood out the most were Dennis Schroder and Danilo Gallinari, who both had over 20 points while Schroder led the team with six assists. Without a standout all-star, the Thunder must rely on a full team effort each game to get the job done and compete with the star-filled teams in this league like the Rockets.
The Houston Rockets have started their season 1-1 after a loss to the Bucks and a win against the Pelicans by three. Although it’ very early in the Westbrook and Harden reunion, all things seem to be pointing in the right direction so far. Although they did lose to the Bucks, they led for most of the game and Westbrook seemed to be fitting in well.
The Rockets are posting 118.5 points per game over their first two, but they are also allowing 120. They are heavily favored in this matchup and should be able to work on some of their chemistry with their new star player.
Russell Westbrook has picked up right where he left off with the Thunder, leading the Rockets in points, assist, and rebounds and averaging a triple double. He has filled the stat sheet over the first two games with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists per game.
Just because Houston added Westbrook this offseason, doesn’t mean James Harden has decided to take a back seat. Harden has averaged 24 points, 9.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds over their first two games this season. If these two can continue to play with a good balance between them, the sky is the limit for the Rockets this season.
This will be a game of two teams built very differently. You have Houston who is led by two star players and command most of the attention during the entire game, and on the other hand you have OKC, who has a well-rounded team that can attack you in many different ways.
While the Thunder play good team defense and that may be a spot where Houston lacks, it will be very difficult for the Thunder to keep the duo of Harden and Westbrook held down all game long. I would expect Houston to go on offensive runs at times spreading the gap between the teams and OKC just won’t have the fire power on offense to catch back up. With an emotionally charged Russell Westbrook, I would expect the Rockets to win this one by at least ten in the end.