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Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game 5 preview

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NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets are the only team with a 3-1 lead in the first round.

Yeah, that’s pretty terrifying.

Three times in the last two years a team has blown a 3-1 lead. The Rockets famously came back against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors erased that deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder before having the same lead erased against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

So if you’re counting at home, two of the three teams or cities that erased a 3-1 lead went on to blow it. That leaves just the Houston Rockets.

If you don’t believe in superstitions, you can still look at this series as one that would swing the other way quickly.

The Rockets are a James Harden three pointer away from being done with the series. On the flip side, the Thunder are a couple of terrible Russell Westbrook fourth quarters away from holding a 3-1 lead of their own.

Like we saw in the Clippers series, all it takes is one loss. The Clips lost Game 5 in Houston and later admitted they didn’t take the game seriously, believing that they had Game 6 at home and in the bag. By the time they blew Game 6, their confidence was through the floor and the Rockets were riding high. Game 7 could have been at Staples again and the Rockets would have won.

So the Rockets cannot rest on homecourt advantage. They cannot think, “Oh we can lose this game and still have two chances.” Because that leads to a game in OKC where the thought process is “Oh we can lose this game and still have Game 7 at home.”

And in one game, anything can happen.

Prediction: OKC in 7.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on TNT. If you have Root Sports, Bill Worrell’s broadcasting career could end tonight since local stations do not get the playoffs after the first round. So Worrell has 1-3 games left.