Coming off three straight division wins, the Rockets are riding high, even if they can't figure out how to play well for the first three quarters. As they say, it's better to finish than to start.
Mostly, the Thunder will sport the same team that the Rockets saw in games 3-6 of the first round playoff series last year. The notable difference is that Jeremy Lamb will play instead of Kevin Martin, Steven Adams comes off the bench at the center, and Reggie Jackson has made a huge leap.
Meanwhile, the Rockets have a different lineup too, though not much of one. Last year, the Rockets had no definite power forward, opting to go with Greg Smith early but mostly going small and playing Parsons at the 4 and Francisco Garcia on Durant. That worked because the Thunder go small with Durant at the 4 and Ibaka at the 5. Now, the Rockets can throw Dwight Howard into the mix.
One would hope that Francisco Garcia remembers his defensive prowess from last year's playoffs when he sees Durant, but judging by his performance so far this season, that's unlikely.
The Rockets are coming off a back-to-back against a team that they needed 48 minutes to beat. The Thunder didn't play last night. Yet, the media won't care and will make sure to draw wild conclusions from this one.
Tip-off is at 6pm CST.