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Harden, Rockets Hope To Get Revenge On Thunder

Posted by Craig Parsons on 1/15/2014 7:49:57 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets have faced off one time this season, and it ended in an ugly 31-point Thunder victory. The Thunder were without Russell Westbrook the last time these teams squared off, so it’s conceivable this game ends the same way. The Rockets however are playing better basketball as of late, and have won four of their last five games and are now just 3.5 games behind the Thunder in the Western Conference standings.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets
Thursday, January 16, 2014 – 9:30 PM ET
Odds: Thunder -2

What To Watch For From The Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have looked like a different team since losing Westbrook as they continue to lose to bad teams despite Durant putting up big points. The sports book spread for this game will likely be miniscule, or possibly nonexistent considering the Thunder are short-handed and playing some of their worst basketball of the season.  The good news is that Durant has scored 30 points or more in each of the last four games, and Reggie Jackson has done a nice job filling in for the injured Westbrook. The Thunder may be the favorite heading into this game because of their record, but this is a game that easily could go either way, and thus is a hard one to predict.

What To Watch For From The Houston Rockets

As previously noted the Rockets have won four of their last five games, but all of those wins were against teams currently below .500. This shows they can beat the teams they are supposed to, but may struggle against the better Western Conference squads. James Harden has been hot since January began as he’s averaging 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists per game. He’s finally becoming a multi-dimensional offensive player that can not only score from all areas of the court, but affect the game in more ways than just shooting. The Rockets have advantages all over the court, except the small forward position, but the real question will be whether or not the stars show up.

Outlook

While I fully expect Durant to put up more than 40 points just by himself, the Thunder are currently putting too much pressure on their superstar to lead them. While Durant is leading the team with 34 points per game in the month of January, the second leading scorer on the team in that time is Jackson, who averages just 14 points per game. The Thunder simply don’t have the players to beat the Rockets right now, which is why I’m going with the home team in this matchup.

Pick: Rockets

Visit BetOnline.com for more sports betting lines.


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