Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/7/18
It could be a first-round preview or it could be the Houston Rockets playing spoiler Saturday night when they host a desperate Oklahoma City Thunder team.
Houston (64-15) are playing out the string, having accomplished all their goals of winning the division title and securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs as the owners of the NBA’s best record.
The Rockets can set a franchise record for consecutive home wins with a victory in this game that would be their 21st straight at Toyota Center. Houston matched the record established by the 1985/86 team who opened 20-0 at The Summit with a 96-94 win Thursday night as Chris Paul hit a buzzer-beater on a drive to the basket after the Rockets squandered a 17-point lead in the final 3:56.
Paul finished with 27 points while James Harden added 24 for the Rockets, who hit 13 3-pointers to offset being outscored 54-32 in the paint. Houston have averaged 111.8 points during their 20-game run at home, outscoring opponents by 14.1 points per game, and recorded nine double-digit wins.
Oklahoma City (45-34) continue to be part of a six-team fight for the final five playoff spots in the Western Conference but have lost four of their last five after a 111-107 loss to Golden State on Tuesday night.
Russell Westbrook did all he could as he rang up 44 points and 16 rebounds, but he had only six assists in part because Carmelo Anthony missed all nine 3-pointers he took and Paul George went three of nine from beyond the arc and five of 19 overall.
The Thunder started Friday night in sixth place in the West, behind the San Antonio Spurs via tiebreaker but only one game better than Minnesota and Denver, who are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot.