Jan 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) and Houston Rockets power forward Dwight Howard (12) get tangled up during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Houston Rockets At Oklahoma City Thunder


Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

After coming off of a much needed win against the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night, the Houston Rockets now  look to keep up the success. Hopefully they can keep playing good basketball when they face a tough Oklahoma City Thunder team tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM and can be seen on NBA TV or CSN Houston. Or neither.

Matchups

Point guard: Patrick Beverley vs. Russell Westbrook

Since returning to the lineup Westbrook hasn’t looked all that great as he used to be. I’d say with  Beverley going against him, Westbrook will have a quiet night. Although the Thunder use Westbrook and Durant for most of the scoring, they will most likely have to find someone else other than Westbrook.

Edge: Rockets

Shooting guard: James Harden vs. Perry Jones

Not much to say about this. With Harden playing arguably the best stretch of basketball right now, until someone proves me that he can be stopped, he will keep dominating. Especially with Thabo Sefolosha out, Harden has the opportunity to have another breakout game. Jones is a decent player, but face it, Harden will find his ways.

Edge: Rockets

Small forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Kevin Durant

Looking at Durant and the way he has been playing, the Rockets better be ready. Parsons does play good defense, but Durant just simply keeps finding ways to get good looks and having everything his way. How well can the Rockets contain Durant? This matchup will be a huge factor when it comes to who wins the ball game. Whether it’s Parsons guarding him, or somebody else coming to help, Durant will still have the advantage.

Edge: Thunder

Power forward: Terrence Jones vs. Serge Ibaka

There is only one thing that has to be said about this matchup. Can Jones overcome his home/road splits? Jones has been less productive on the road than home. Sadly, I don’t think this game will go his way. I think Ibaka’s defense will hold Jones down throughout the game. I hope he can prove me wrong, but until I see it, the advantage goes to Ibaka.

Edge: Thunder

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Steven Adams

Although Adams is a rookie, he can play decent defense. When it comes to guarding Dwight however, he may be in for a long night. Howard will most likely get a lot of touches down low. Expect the Thunder to double team Howard if he becomes a threat down low. If they double him however, that leaves a perimeter shooter open which I don’t think the Thunder would like. Who knows what the Thunder might do. Whatever they come up with, Howard will still be unstoppable down low.

Edge: Rockets

 

Bench:

Rockets: Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hamilton, Donatas Motiejunas, Omer Asik, Omri Casspi, Fransisco Garcia, and Isaiah Canaan

Thunder: Nick Collison, Caron Butler, Hasheem Thabeet, Derek Fisher, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Williams, and Andre Roberson

Edge: Rockets

Injuries:

Rockets: Greg Smith (OUT)

Thunder: Thabo Sefolosha (OUT) Kendrick Perkins (OUT)

Prediction: Although the game is in OKC and Russell Westbrook is back, I still think that the Houston Rockets will come out on top. Based on their play as of late, I think they head into Oklahoma City with tons of momentum, and enough energy to take down the Thunder for the first time this season. I think it will be a close one. I got the Houston Rockets winning 114-107.

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