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Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game 3 preview

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve heard of “Road Ryno” this year.

Tonight, the Rockets will need to actually see him.

Here’s the splits:

Home: 37% shooting overall; 33% from deep; 77% FT percentage; 11 points per game

Road: 46% shooting overall; 47% from deep; 93% FT percentage; 16 points per game

It’s hard to explain. Tracy McGrady complained about the sight-lines at Toyota Center back in the day, but judging from how well opponents shoot at the Yote, it’s unlikely to be a really significant issue. Sure, Ryno shot 32% as a Pelican at TC last year, but he shot above 50% the previous two seasons. And yes, small sample size alert.

Still, you know OKC will be loud. This is it. The Thunder are looking at two must-win games on Friday and Sunday. They will believe that they can replicate their performance from the first three quarters of Game 2 and that if some shots fall in the fourth quarter, they can win easily. They will make some adjustments.

For Houston, they’ve received some disjointed performances. James Harden has been decent in both games, as has Clint Capela. In Game 1 the Rockets’ bench brigade of Lou Williams and Eric Gordon gave them nothing. In Game 2, they gave them everything.

The Thunder got nothing in Game 1 from everyone outside of Russ and Roberson. In Game 2 they basically got everything from everyone except maybe Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

So there’s been one constant in this series. And his name is Ryan Anderson.

And boy has he sucked. He’s 2-14 in the series, including 0-11 from deep. And all 11 have been so wide open even I could have hit one. In Game 1 he grabbed 12 boards to help his cause, but that number dropped to three in Game 2. His mere presence helps spread the floor. We can talk about spacing all we want, but if Anderson isn’t on the Rockets there’s no spacing and none of this team’s success happens. But his presence isn’t good enough in the playoffs.

Houston needs something out of him tonight. And I think they’ll get it.

Because Road Ryno.

Prediction: Thunder put the pieces together and win the game and series. OKC in 6.

Tip-off is at 8:30pm CT on ESPN.