Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game preview

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The Rockets try to avenge a December loss to the Thunder tonight at the Toyota Center.

Once again, the Rockets are getting the Thunder when Houston is on a back-to-back while OKC was idle the night before. Hey, at least the Rockets aren't on a 4-games-in-5-nights situation again.

On their excellent Red Nation Radio podcast, Mike and BD (or is it BD and Mike?) said that the Rockets shouldn't be thrown off by these "schedule losses." Sometimes, the team just needs to man up and grind out a win.

The Rockets are kicking off a 5-game homestand that includes the Thunder tonight, the Bucks Saturday, Portland on Monday (again on TNT), the Kings on Wednesday, and the Grizzlies on Friday. So four of the games have a day off before them.

The Rockets should be trying to go 4-1 on this homestand, but I see 3-2 or 2-3 as more likely. The Thunder are tough as always, Portland is a top 3 team in the West as well, the Kings are 2-0 against the Rockets, and the Grizzlies just got Marc Gasol back and knocked off the Thunder in Memphis on Monday night.

If the Rockets were to go 1-4 here, that wouldn't surprise me, but I would be disappointed.

I'll stop since I'm now talking like a parent.

Tip off is at 8:30pm CST on TNT.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Reggie Jackson

I realize that these are two above average point guards going against each other.

But who else is excited about the first time Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook go against each other? They haven't played since Beverley injured Westbrook on an innocuous play that Westbrook (and every other point guard) does all the time.

As for tonight, this is a good matchup.

Advantage: Even

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Thabo Sefolosha

James Harden was outplayed by Jeremy Lamb last time these teams played.

DOES THIS MEAN THE ROCKETS LOST THE JEREMY LAMB TRADE?

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No.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Kevin Durant

Durant will have all of your shots please.

Advantage: Thunder

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Serge Ibaka

I'm convinced that Terrence Jones hated Anthony Davis or at least hated the attention he got at Kentucky. Jones has now turned in two great games against his former teammate.

If only he could go against Davis every night.

Wait, I don't actually want that.

Advantage: Thunder

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Kendrick Perkins

I know Perkins starts, but Nick Collison and Steven Adams will play a lot too.

But really, it's all about Nick Collison BECAUSE THIS IS THE GREATEST HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO EVER! And yes, there's a story behind it too.

Collison used to (maybe still does) write a blog on GQ. One of his entries said:

"The hard part is being able to have the focus to do it over and over again, knowing you aren't going to get a lot of credit. Doing a great job of talking on defense won't get you any high-paying endorsement deals. Nobody is making a YouTube mix of all your badass screens with a Rick Ross track playing over it. (I'm not saying I would complain if someone did this for me.)"

So someone did, and it's awesome. Video is safe for work in that it's censored. It's still Rick Ross though. Trilla!

The ultimate Nick Collison mix (via Daily Thunder)

Advantage: Rockets

Bench

Rockets: Aaron Brooks (maybe), Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Greg Smith (maybe), Donatas Motiejunas (maybe), Isaiah Canaan (maybe).

Thunder: Nick Collison, Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb, Derek Fisher

Advantage: Thunder (maybe)

Prediction: Schedule loss for the Rockets.

Thunder vs Rockets coverage

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