Though the Thunder own a 1-1 split with the Rockets this season (they’ll meet for the third and final time on Saturday), this is still a matchup Houston should be hoping it gets.
No potential Western Conference playoff team allows a higher percentage of opponents’ shots to come from beyond the arc than the Thunder, according to Cleaning the Glass.nfl nike jerseys stitched And if you’ve paid attention to the 2017-18 season for more than five seconds, you’re probably aware that the Rockets like to get those threes up.
Houston is on pace to set an NBA record by taking more than half of its attempts from deep.
Maybe Paul George gives the Thunder a fighting chance against James Harden in one-on-one matchups, and maybe Steven Adams can help slow down Clint Capela’s roll game. But the Thunder have been horrible at defending the exact shots the Rockets love.
Unless OKC completely changes its personnel and schemes—a list of to-do items would include playing smaller, removing Carmelo Anthony from the starting and closing units, and convincing Russell Westbrook to defend more than once every five possessions—this feels like a three-fest Houston is destined to win easily.
We won’t do this for everyone, but there are sure to be “why not Team X?!” cries in light of Houston’s excellent marks against just about everybody in the West. The Rockets are 4-0 against both the Jazz and Wolves, for example.
But three of those wins against the Jazz came before Rudy Gobert spurred Utah’s dominant run in late January, so we can’t fairly judge Houston against this version of the Jazz. And we’re going to say some bleak things about the Wolves in a bit, so they catch a break by ducking mention here.
From a pure matchup perspective, there are lots of pushover opponents for the Rockets. nike authentic nfl jerseys cheap That’s what happens when you’re the best team in the league. Oklahoma City just happens to feature a particular weakness that plays into the Rockets’ hands.