Oklahoma City Thunder (6-4, 3-2 home)

vs.

Houston Rockets (4-5, 4-1 away)

Thursday, November 8 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage:TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4.5-point underdogs. The over/under is 214.5.
Online StreamTNT | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Rockets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Two of the NBA’s hottest teams showdown on TNT tonight as the Thunder, winners of six straight, host the Houston Rockets, winners of three straight.
  • Both teams were victims of poor starts. Oklahoma City started 0-4 and the Rockets started 1-5. Both teams are starting to steer their ships in the right direction.
  • It’s the return of Carmelo Anthony after his one year stint in Oklahoma City. Anthony, 34, is averaging 14.7 points on 43.6 percent from the floor and 35.2 percent from deep.
  • It’s the Thunder’s third game on TNT this season, they’re 0-2 so far, with losses to the Warriors and the Celtics.
  • Oklahoma City is going for their longest win streak since last season when they won eight straight. That win streak spanned most of January. Jan. 13-28, 2018.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • 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.
  • Chris Fisher and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).

SCOUTING THE ROCKETS

  • The Houston Rockets are 4-5 on the season, 12th in the Western Conference Playoff race.
  • Last season, the Rockets won over 60 games and were the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference.
  • In their last game, the Rockets beat the Pacers 98-94 on Monday night.
  • The Rockets, after starting 1-5, have won three straight and are on the verge of getting back to .500.
  • All-time against the Rockets, Oklahoma City is 109-107.
  • Since relocation, the Thunder are 16-20.
  • Since 2015-16, the Thunder are 4-7.
  • When the two teams meet at the ‘Peake, Oklahoma City is 11-8. Including 3-3 since 2015-16 season.
  • Last season, Oklahoma City won the regular season series 2-1, including a 112-107 win and 122-112 loss in Oklahoma City.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Brandon Knight (knee) is out.
    Eric Gordon (right abductor strain) is questionable.
    Michael Carter Williams (illness) is out.
    Nene (calf strain) is out.
  • 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.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Russell Westbrook (ankle sprain) is out.

NEXT UP

  • They wrap up the week by playing the Mavericks on Saturday night in Dallas on Nov. 10.
  • The Thunder host the Suns for the second time on Monday, Nov. 12.



Three Keys to the Game

Start fast

With no Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City have to start fast. You cannot let a team like the Rockets jump on you. Sure, they may still blow the lead but you have to put your foot on the gas from the opening tip and not let up. While the Rockets aren’t the dominant team of the past, they’ll still get hot and light you up.

Stop fouling

The Thunder commit more fouls than any team in the NBA. They’re committing 26.0 fouls per game, which leads to 30.8 free throws per game, most in the NBA. However, over their four-game win streak, the Thunder are a little bit better, only 25th in fouling. They’re only allowing 27.5 free throws per game during the winning streak.

Hit threes

Houston is going to their threes up. Oklahoma City has to do the same. If the Thunder are going to keep pace with the Rockets, they’re going to need to shoot decent from deep tonight. Oklahoma City cannot afford another 28 percent performance from deep.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.