A couple of weeks ago, this game seemed like a surefire win. Oklahoma City was tanking and Houston was losing but competitive against some of the better Western Conference squads.
Today, the Rockets are on a 12-game losing streak and the Thunder are 5-8. OKC will undoubtedly be favored tonight, especially if Kevin Porter Jr. misses the contest with a thigh injury. Eric Gordon was not on the injury report, so that’s a nice boon for Houston.
As much as Rockets fans understand the need for tanking, I think many of them expected a season similar to OKC’s: a handful of wins and a competitive set of losses. However, the Thunder have played their way to the seventh-best lottery odds. If the season ended today, Houston would be guaranteed a top 5 pick. Where would you prefer to be? And while you’re thinking of that, be sure to read Raymond’s piece about tanking. Because it’s excellent and you should always read great writing.
Tonight is the fourth and final game of a homestand for the Thunder. They are 1-2 with a win over the Kings and losses to the Nets and Heat. It’s the second of a four-game road trip for the Rockets. The good news is that they have two days off after tonight. The bad news is that they will be in New York City for those nights, which hasn’t always been the best place for young athletes.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest