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Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game 4 preview

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing Game 3 loss in which the Rockets were punchless in overtime, Houston will look to bounce back and take control of the series tonight.

In the playoffs, it always feels like the team that won the most recent game is going to win out. After Games 1 and 2, the Rockets were going to sweep the Thunder. Now, the Thunder are definitely going to win four straight and take the first round series.

As we talked about in the Game 3 preview, the Rockets are no built to sweep anyone, and the Thunder are too good to be swept. That combination manifested itself in Game 3, where the Rockets shot 30% from deep and fouled OKC to the tune of 34 free throws. Maybe that’s a sustainable strategy for OKC, but if the Rockets make a couple more threes, they should feel good about their chances.

Houston’s poor execution late in the game caused their downfall as well. Whether it was the “turnover” when Eric Gordon fell down, leaving Shai Gilgeous-Alexander open in the corner on the ensuing possession, or Danuel House Jr. missing a free throw that would have won the game for Houston, the Rockets made their own bed in the waning moments of Game 3.

This is the swing game for both teams. If the Thunder win, they will feel good about their chances of coming back, and Houston will have to think hard about breaking the Russell Westbrook “in case of emergency” glass. If the Rockets win, they will feel good about taking the series without Russ and can rest him until a potential Game 7 or Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-finals.

Tip-off is at 3pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and TNT