Thunder Game Day No. 80: at Houston Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder (45-34, 26-13 home)


Houston Rockets (64-15, 34-6 home)

Saturday, April 7 :: 7:30 p.m. CST :: Toyota Center (18,043)
TV Coverage: ABC (5 DirecTV, 8 Cox, 705 HD, 5 AT&T U-Verse, 5 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 6-point underdog. The over/under is 218½.
Online Stream: ABC | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Rockets: here


  • The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Houston to take on the NBA’s best team, the Houston Rockets.
  • Oklahoma City is in dire need of a win after everyone else found victory this week. Oklahoma City is a game back of the Utah Jazz but are only a game away from being out of the playoffs.
  • 47 wins gets Oklahoma City into the playoffs. Oklahoma City needs two wins in their final three games to get into the playoffs.
  • Houston beat the Thunder 122-112 on March 6. In that game, Houston took 34 free throws to Oklahoma City’s 11. That was your ball game. Oklahoma City’s aggressiveness will be imperative.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t won the regular season series with Houston since 2013-14.


  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s broadcast is on ABC only. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Doris Burke will have your broadcast play-by-play and such. Sorry about Mark Jackson.


  • The NBA’s best team, the Houston Rockets are 64-15 on the year. They lead the rest of the NBA by seven games.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Rockets are a cool 9-1.
  • Houston is 36-4 over their last 40 games. They’re 28-11 before that. Not a typo.
  • Houston beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-94 on a Chris Paul last second shot on Thursday night.
  • All-time against the Rockets, Oklahoma City is 108-107.
  • Since relocation, Oklahoma City is 15-20 against Houston.
  • When games played at the Toyota Center, the Thunder are 4-12.
  • Oklahoma City’s last win in Houston came on Jan. 16, 2014. It’s six straight losses since.
  • The Thunder and the Rockets have split the series match ups this season 1-1, both winning on their home courts.
  • Houston beat the Thunder 122-112 on March 6. In that game, Houston took 34 free throws to Oklahoma City’s 11. That was your ball game. Oklahoma City’s aggressiveness will be imperative.
    Eric Gordon (Foot) is a game-time decision.
    Ryan Anderson (ankle) is out.
    Tarik Black (back) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Houston came on Dec. 29, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 117-86 (31-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (12 points) vs. Houston occurred during a 89-77 loss on Nov. 1, 2008.


  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.


  • Oklahoma City will travel to Miami for the a showdown with the Heat on Monday, April 9.
  • Then , the Oklahoma City Thunder wrap up the regular season against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, April 11.


  • The Houston Rockets originally called San Diego home.
  • Rockets was chosen via a name-the-team contest and was a reference to the city’s theme, “A City In Motion.”
  • Liquid-fueled Atlas rockets were also being manufactured in San Diego.
  • When the team moved to Houston in 1971, it made perfectly good sense to keep the name, as Houston was home to a NASA space center.

Three Keys to the Game

Force turnovers

Houston (No. 6) and Oklahoma City (No. 1) are both top six in points off turnovers. Oklahoma City turned it over 20 times in their previous meeting. The Thunder cannot let that happen again. Take care of the ball. Limit points in transition and hold on for dear life. That’s how you survive against Houston.

Free throws

Oklahoma City has to limit free throws and then make free throws. They’re 29th in the NBA in free throw percentage. They cannot let Houston get to the line 34 times tonight. That’s an instant loss for a team who hasn’t won in Houston since 2014. A four year drought is too much.


Oklahoma City needs the Big Three to show up more than ever before. Westbrook needs to be efficient and slicing like a hot knife through butter. Paul George needs to be exceptional on both sides.They didn’t show up on Tuesday and it cost this team dearly. Carmelo Anthony needs to hit his open shots and be smart. If they do this, the Thunder will win.

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