An eight-game road winning streak hangs in the balance for the Houston Rockets (25-6) when they meet the Oklahoma City Thunder (18-15) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Over/Under (O/U) for the game has been set at 216.5 points with Houston opening as a 3-point favorite. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Monday, December 25, 2017.
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Free Preview,
The Rockets lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in their last matchup, 128-118. Houston’s James Harden had a good performance, leading both teams in scoring with 51 points on 15-for-28 shooting. Los Angeles had a turnover percentage of 7.1 (better than their season average of 13.1). Houston, meanwhile, did an excellent job of getting and making free throws (29-35; 82.9 percent).
In the Thunder’s last game, they topped the Utah Jazz, 103-89. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook played an enormous role in the victory, registering 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on his way to his 10th triple-double of the season. Oklahoma City played a nearly perfect game. They had an extraordinary offensive rebounding percentage of 32.6 (above their season average of 27.2) and a turnover percentage of 6.9 (better than their season average of 13.0). For those same stats, Utah put up marks of 16.7 and 12.9, respectively.
Expect this one to be a clinic on boxing out as two of the leagues top rebounding teams clash. The Thunder rank second in offensive rebounding percentage (27.4 percent), while Houston ranks third in defensive rebounding percentage (81.3 percent). Ball protection could be troublesome for the Rockets. They rank 22nd at avoiding errors (turnover percentage of 14.8 percent), while the Thunder force the most turnovers in the NBA (opponents turnover percentage of 16.9 percent).
Of Houston’s 31 games, 17 have finished over the projected point total, while 20 of Oklahoma City’s 33 games have finished under the O/U total. Looking at straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records, the Rockets have a clear advantage. They are 25-6 SU and 16-14-1 ATS, while the Thunder are 18-15 SU and 11-21-1 ATS.
Trevor Ariza has been playing at a high level over the last five games for Houston, averaging 14.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
This will be the first matchup of the year between these two teams. The Rockets won seven out of nine matchups played against each other last season. In the last contest, Houston won 105-99. Houston did a fantastic job of getting and making free throws (33-39; 84.6 percent). Oklahoma City, meanwhile, had a much better offensive rebounding percentage (32.7 vs. 24.4).
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Odds Prediction
Predictions: SU Winner – Rockets, ATS Winner – Thunder, O/U – Under
- The Rockets average 9.1 steals per game, which ranks third in the NBA. The Thunder rank 18th in steals allowed per game (8.1).
- Houston ranks 17th in assists per game (22.4) while Oklahoma City ranks 25th (20.8).
- Oklahoma City averages 13.8 fast break points per game, which ranks sixth in the league. Houston ranks 21st in fast break points allowed per game (12.0).
- Oklahoma City averages 4.9 blocks per game, which ranks 11th in the league. Houston ranks 13th in blocks allowed per game (4.6).
- On the road, Houston is 9-4 ATS with 7 unders and 6 overs.
- Oklahoma City is 6-9-1 ATS at home with 10 unders and 6 overs.
- Oklahoma City is 13-4 when they hold opponents under 100 points, while Houston is 11-1.
- In games where they reach the century mark, the Thunder are 15-6 and the Rockets are 25-4.
- The Thunder rank fifth in second chance points per game (14.3) while the Rockets rank 17th (11.9).
- Oklahoma City ranks third in points allowed in the paint per game (40.1) while Houston ranks 25th (46.5).
- The Thunder rank second in points off turnovers per game (19.8) while the Rockets rank 24th in points off turnovers allowed per game (18.4).
- The Rockets rank second in rebounds allowed per game (40.6) while the Thunder rank seventh (41.4).
- Houston ranks first in three pointers attempted per game (43.1) while Oklahoma City ranks 21st in three pointers allowed per game (30.0).
- Oklahoma City is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Houston is 2-3 ATS with 5 overs.
- The Thunder’s average margin of victory in their last five games has been 6.2, up from 2.9 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Rockets have scored an average of 118.6 points per game (3.2 above their season average) and allowed an average of 113.8 points per game (8.4 above their season average).