All eyes will be on James Harden and Russell Westbrook on Saturday night when the Houston Rockets host the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets and Thunder are two of the best teams in the Western Conference, but the individual matchup between Harden and Westbrook will be worth the price of admission. Harden has the potential to put up 50 points, while Westbrook will be going for his 8th straight triple-double.
The Thunder have won nine of their last 10 games, and are now in third place in the Western Conference standings. Oklahoma City brings a 35-19 record into this matchup, but have gone just 16-12 on the road this season. The Rockets have surged into first place in the Southwest Division with a 32-22 record and have won six of their last eight games. Houston is -3.0 over Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
Westbrook, George Carrying Thunder
Russell Westbrook is getting all the headlines for averaging a triple-double this season, but Paul George might be having the better season. George is leading the team with 28.0 points per game this season and is also one of the top defensive players in the entire league. Westbrook is putting up 21.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 11.2 assists this season, but is enjoying finally having a full team to compliment him. With George and Westbrook leading the way, the Thunder will be a tough out in the postseason.
The Thunder are still looking for some more depth entering the second half of the season, but their starting unit has been terrific. Oklahoma City is fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 115.2 points per game, and they can score points in a hurry. The addition of George has made them a better defensive team this season as well, allowing just under 110 points per game. There is a reason that the Thunder have won nine of their last 10.
Rockets Still Watching Harden Perform
The Houston Rockets have been winning games of late, but they are still just a one-man show. James Harden has been putting up historic numbers since January and leads the NBA with 36.5 points per game. Harden is attempting more than 24 shots per game and dominates the ball while Houston is on offense. Look for the Thunder to use George and Westbrook on Harden in hopes of slowing him down.
Houston is still without center Clint Capela for this game, and they are looking for more depth before the playoffs. Capela was averaging close to 13 rebounds per game before being injured, and the Rockets will likely struggle to keep the Thunder off the glass in this game. Houston will look to push the ball and tempo on offense, but that might come back to bite them against OKC.
Thunder Stay On a Roll
You can expect that Harden and Westbrook are both going to try to prove their dominance in this game, and the head-to-head matchup will be fun to watch. The problem for the Rockets is that they simply don’t have enough talent to support Harden. Oklahoma City is playing like the best team in the NBA at this point of the season, and they will stay hot. Take the points and bet the Oklahoma City Thunder +3.0 over the Houston Rockets.