NBA Game Preview: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder

Dec 1, 2021

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Game: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder 

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Rockets +3, Thunder -3 

Total: 214.5 

Between the Rockets and Thunder, there are just ten combined wins in the NBA this season. Houston has four of those victories and two of them have come against this very same Oklahoma City team. The two teams just played on Monday night with the Rockets picking up a 102-89 win at home. The Thunder beat Houston the last time the teams played at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City. That was actually, OKC’s last victory. 

Since beating Houston on Nov. 17, the Thunder has lost six straight games. OKC’s biggest problems revolve around an offense that is dead last in the NBA in scoring. The Thunder average just 98.5 points per game. In their last ten games, OKC failed to score 100 in five of them. Their highest point total in those ten games is 105.  

It’s no surprise that Oklahoma City ranks 30th in the league in offensive efficiency. They do have a couple of bright spots though. Shia Gilgeous-Alexander is the Thunder’s best player and averages 20.2 points and 4.6 assists per game. Rookie Josh Giddey ranks in the top 10 among rookies this season in points (10.4), rebounds (7.2), assists (5.8), steals (1.0), and blocked shots (0.7). 

Houston (4-16) is on a three-game winning streak after Monday’s win over OKC. The Rockets beat Charlotte 146-143 and Chicago 118-113 in their two previous games. Houston’s bright young star, Christian Wood, has been outstanding as of late. In those three wins, Wood averaged 24.3 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. In Monday’s win over OKC, Wood had a dominant double-double with 24 points and 21 rebounds. He added three blocks for good measure. 

The Rockets would love nothing more than steal a win on the road tonight. Their next two games are against Orlando and New Orleans. Those two teams have a combined record of just 10-35 so far this season. That could allow Houston to climb the Western Conference standings.  

Both teams have actually had some success covering the number recently. The Thunder covered six straight until Monday night’s loss. That included covering in three games where OKC was a double-digit underdog. Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last five games, including the last three straight. The Rockets haven’t had great success against the number when playing the Thunder. Houston is just 6-12 ATS in the last 18 games against Oklahoma City. 

Houston and Oklahoma City trend Under in-game totals. The total has gone Under in six of Houston’s last nine games and in 11 of the Thunder’s last 15. Houston actually plays at the second-fastest pace in the NBA averaging 106.1 possessions per game. Over the last three games, the Rockets are averaging nearly 110 possessions and are No. 2 in scoring over those three games averaging 122 points per.  

With tonight’s total at 214.5, it makes for an interesting decision. Despite OKC’s inability to score, Gilgeous Alexander leads the NBA in drives and Giddey can make plays in transition.