Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game Preview

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Rockets break through against the Thunder in the final matchup of the season?

RSVP to the game, even if you're just watching on TV

The Rockets have met the Thunder three times since the James Harden trade. They've lost three times. Tonight, as they face the Thunder at 7 PM CST in Houston, TX, James Harden and the Rockets will be coming for a victory with vengeance. Will they be able to break through? Let's dig into the matchups to find out!

PG: Jeremy Lin vs. Russell Westbrook

Jeremy Lin had 25 games of brilliance. Russell Westbrook has had three seasons of it. This isn't to sell Lin short, but Westbrook is one of the most dynamic guards in the NBA and expect to see him go off yet again against the Houston offense.

This one isn't very close.

Advantage: Oklahoma City

SG: James Harden vs. Thabo Sefolosha

Thabo Sefolosha is enjoying his fourth straight season of starting minutes in Oklahoma City despite arguably not being the best shooting guard there in all of them. He's a great defensive guard who can light teams up from behind the arc, but doesn't look to do much on offense and shoots under six shots a game.

James Harden is enjoying the best season of his young career, and he's looking to break through and beat OKC in his fourth attempt. He's struggled in the first three games, but hopefully he'll be healthy and take care of the Thunder.

Advantage: Houston

SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Kevin Durant

Chandler Parsons is in the midst of a tremendous sophomore season, scoring 14.5 points per game and asserting himself as James Harden's second fiddle offensively. Unfortunately for him, he's playing against the league leader in scoring, Kevin Durant.

At nearly 7 feet tall, Durant is nearly unguardable if he can get his shot going from outside. If Parsons can keep Durant under thirty points, he'll have to consider it a successful night.

Advantage: Oklahoma City

PF: Patrick Patterson vs. Serge Ibaka

This is one that probably goes under the radar in terms of destruction value. Patrick Patterson is playing at a pretty mediocre level, and Serge Ibaka is one of the best defensive power forwards in the league. Look for Ibaka to not only shut down Patrick Patterson, but to wreak havoc on the Rockets guards and forwards penetrating the lane.

Let's hope Patrick Patterson breaks out of his slump soon because I'm pretty sure that the deadline won't yield much fruit in terms of power forwards for the Rockets.

Advantage: Oklahoma City

C: Omer Asik vs. Kendrick Perkins

When the Thunder acquired Kendrick Perkins before the trade deadline two years ago, the Celtics were ridiculed for giving Perkins up for so little. Now, the Thunder are the ones that look silly for getting Perkins and giving him that 4 year, $36 million contract before he hit the open market.

Nick Collison is probably the superior player, and he will likely see some serious minutes in Perkins' stead. If the Rockets are lucky, however, they'll see a lot more of Perkins.

Advantage: Houston

Bench:

A pair of veteran wing scorers lead the benches. The question of Kevin Martin vs. Carlos Delfino isn't really much fun, but deciding which one of the two is more attractive certainly is.

Does the mysterious, hooded Kevin Martin do it for you or are you more favorable to Carlos Delfino and his glamour shot? Personally, I like Delfino's fiery gaze that really reaches through the camera, but that's me.

Regardless, the Thunder have a deeper, stronger bench headlined by Martin and Nick Collison. If the Rockets want to stick with the Thunder, the young guns will have to step up off the bench.

Advantage: Oklahoma City

Prediction:

Oklahoma City is definitely the better team in nearly every way, but I think James Harden breaks through and the Rockets beat the Thunder 130-124 (OT).

What say you? Will Harden be shut down again or will the Rockets run over the Thunder in the final matchup of the season?

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