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Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Match Preview and Predictions - 9th January 2020

Arvind S
SENIOR ANALYST
Preview
Modified 09 Jan 2020, 14:22 IST

The Houston Rockets will look to maintain their strong start to the season
The Houston Rockets will look to maintain their strong start to the season

Match details

Fixture: Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder

Date & Time: Thursday, 9th January 2019 (9:30 PM ET)

Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

Last game results

Houston Rockets (25-11): 122-115 victory against the Atlanta Hawks (8th January, Wednesday)

Oklahoma City Thunder (21-16): 111-103 victory against the Brooklyn Nets (7th January, Tuesday)

Houston Rockets Preview

The Houston Rockets will put their three-game win streak on the line when they travel to Oklahoma to lock horns with the surging Thunder.

After a middling start to the season, the Rockets have caught fire of late, winning eight of their last 10 games. Their recent surge has lifted them to the third spot in the Western Conference Standings, but a number of stern tests await Houston in the coming weeks.

Houston boasts the second-best offensive rating in the league and enter this contest averaging 117.7 points in their last 10 games.

Key Player - Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has settled in well at Houston
Russell Westbrook has settled in well at Houston
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All eyes will be on former Thunder Russell Westbrook as he makes his return to Oklahoma City for the first time after being traded this past summer.

Westbrook spent 11 seasons with the Thunder and established himself as one of the franchise's greatest ever players.

However, he will be looking to put Oklahoma to the sword when he takes the court in Houston colors on Thursday night.

Westbrook has impressed during his short Houston career thus far; he is averaging 24.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7 assists per game and has formed a great understanding with James Harden.

Westbrook sat out the first game of a back-to-back, against the Hawks, in order to be available for the trip to Oklahoma and he will certainly hope his return is a memorable one.

Rockets predicted lineup

Danuel House, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela, James Harden, Russell Westbrook


Oklahoma City Thunder Preview

The Thunder have punched above their weight all season and will look to add another scalp to their burgeoning list of victims when they host the mighty Rockets.

Not many would have given Oklahoma a chance when they lost Paul George and Westbrook in the summer, but top displays from the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul have propelled the Thunder to the seventh spot in the Western Conference Standings.

Oklahoma have won six of their last seven games and are firmly in contention to make the playoffs.

Key Player - Chris Paul

Chris Paul has led the Thunder to a strong start
Chris Paul has led the Thunder to a strong start

After a quiet start to life in Oklahoma, Chris Paul seems to have finally got up to speed with the dynamics of the Thunder offense.

He's averaging 17.1 points and 7.2 assists per game across the last 20 games and his presence on the court has helped youngsters like Darius Bazley, Gilgeous-Alexander and Terrance Ferguson flourish.

Paul has served as the Thunder's closer and has got them across the line on several occasions this season.

Thunder predicted lineup

Terrance Ferguson, Darius Bazley, Steven Adams, Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander


Rockets vs Thunder Match Prediction

The Rockets have been good travelers this season and boast a 12-7 record on the road. Their offense has finally clicked and teams have struggled to keep pace with them across the stretch.

The Thunder have won 15 of their last 20 games but this will undoubtedly be their sternest test yet.

With Westbrook having a point to prove and Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari expected to miss the game, Oklahoma will find it hard to trade buckets with the Rockets and should fall to just their seventh home defeat of the season.

Where to Watch Rockets vs Thunder?

The game will be broadcast on TNT and AT&T Sportsnet from 9:30 PM (ET). You can live stream the game via NBA League Pass.

Published 09 Jan 2020, 14:22 IST
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