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Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game preview

A couple of young upstarts face off in Toyota Center

NBA: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets return to the friendly confines of Toyota Center, but a tall task is standing in the way of their ninth home (and overall) victory.

Part of that tall task is Chet Holmgren (get it, because he’s tall?), the second overall pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2022 NBA Draft. My love of all things Gonzaga is well known here, so I understand why my love of Holmgren as a draft prospect was met with more eye rolls than looks of respect. Well, Chet has made me look pretty good in my “He’s Victor Wembanyama but more skilled” take. While Wemby came into the season as the odds-on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, it was Holmgren that won Western Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November.

Of course, Chet isn’t the only piece of the puzzle for the 13-6 Thunder, a team that feels like it’s going to be around and good for a long while. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the superstar. He’s averaging 30 points per game, but also grabs six boards and dishes out six assists per game as well. If he can get those up to nice round tens, he could win MVP. The Thunder have a Jalen Williams and a Jaylin Williams. Both are firmly in the rotation, but it’s Jalen who has taken a big step in his second NBA season and is starting and tied with Holmgren for second on the team in scoring at just under 18 points per contest.

The Thunder also have Josh Giddey, who the Thunder fans are rallying behind because they heard from a Tik Tok that he’s innocent. Or something. Meanwhile, if a Tik Tok did absolve him, we would have heard from the police or the league by now. Giddey is still playing despite the investigation, and is innocent until proven guilty. Hopefully he is and this has all been a big misunderstanding. On the court, he’s averaging 12/6/4.

Tip-off

7pm CT

How to Watch

Space City Home Network

Injuries/Other

Rockets

Amen Thompson-OUT (rehab at RGV)

Thunder

None

The Line

OKC -2.5

Looking ahead because we can

Friday on the road in Denver

Poll

Poll

Who is the Rookie of the Year so far?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Victor Wembanyama
    (10 votes)
  • 70%
    Chet Holmgren
    (46 votes)
  • 13%
    Someone else (explain your delusions in the comments)
    (9 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now