Thunder Game Day #33: at Houston Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder (21-11, 9-7 away)


Houston Rockets (17-15, 10-5 home)

Tuesday, December 25 :: 2:00 p.m. CST :: Toyota Center (18,300)
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 enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 1-point favorites. The over/under is 221.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Rockets: here


  • The Oklahoma City Thunder look to rebound from a bad loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves as they travel to Houston on Christmas Day to play the Houston Rockets.
  • Oklahoma City is coming off a 114-112 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. Oklahoma City led for a majority of the game before a bad third quarter set things going in the wrong direction.
  • The Houston Rockets are going to be without Chris Paul for a few weeks and are trying to get their bearings still this season. While they’re eighth in the playoff race, the Rockets, who were the No. 1 seed in last year’s playoffs, are just 6-4 in their last 10 games.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Rockets 98-80 on Nov. 8 in Oklahoma City. It’s second largest wins over the Rockets in Thunder history. Carmelo Anthony struggled in his return to Oklahoma City. So much, he’s no longer a member of the team.
  • This is the ninth consecutive season Oklahoma City is playing on Christmas Day. They’re 6-2 on Christmas Day games. They’ve won four of their last five Christmas Day games.


  • 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.
  • ABC is broadcasting tonight’s game. Oklahoma City and Houston’s call will come from Dave Pasch and Doris Burke.


  • The Houston Rockets are 17-15 on the season, eighth 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, Houston beat the San Antonio Spurs 108-101 on Saturday night.
  • The Rockets, after starting 1-5, have fought back and are back in the playoff hunt.
  • All-time against the Rockets, Oklahoma City is 110-107.
  • Since relocation, the Thunder are 17-20.
  • Since 2015-16, the Thunder are 5-7.
  • Oklahoma City is 5-12 on the road against Houston, one of the worst road records vs. any team for Oklahoma City.
  • Last season, Oklahoma City won the regular season series 2-1, including a 112-107 win and 122-112 loss in Oklahoma City.
    Chris Paul (hamstring) is out.
  • James Ennis III (hamstring) 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.


  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out



  • The Thunder will travel to Phoenix for a showdown with the Suns on Friday, Dec. 28.
  • Then, the Thunder will have back-to-back games against Dallas to round out the 2018 portion of the schedule. First one will be on Dec. 30 in Dallas and then back in Oklahoma City on Dec. 31.


  • 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


Houston is one of the better teams in the league in not letting their opponents score off their mistakes. Oklahoma City has to capitalize on this today. That being said, Oklahoma City has really struggled in taking care of the ball the last couple of games. They have to do a considerably better job today in that department.

Free throws

Oklahoma City’s free throws are huge reasons why they’ve let some games slip this season. They have to make their free throws. It’s simple and just to the point. Make your free throws and you have more of a chance to win some games. Miss them and put yourself behind the 8-ball, yet again.

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook have to step up on the offensive side. The Thunder need his offensive ability to reappear. Sure, he’s having one of his best defensive seasons of his career, but the Thunder need more out of the all-star. He struggled again on the offensive side but really stepped up when it mattered against Minnesota.

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