Houston (35-35) at Oklahoma City (48-22)
When: Tuesday, March 22nd 2016
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The Houston Rockets are fighting for a Playoff spot in the Western Conference while the Oklahoma City Thunder are cruising towards the three-seed. The two teams meet Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Houston is coming off a 109-97 loss at Atlanta on Saturday in which they shot just 39.3% from the floor and scored just 14 fourth quarter points. They’ll need to step it up as they play nine consecutive games against teams in the top eight of their respective conferences. The Rockets are one of four teams battling for the final three playoff spots out West. They are tied with Dallas for 7th and 8th place just a half a game behind Portland for sixth and one game ahead of 9th place Utah. The Rockets will host the Jazz tomorrow night. The Rockets not only suffered a loss to the Hawks on Saturday but also got involved in some controversy when center Dwight Howard (14.5 points, 12.1 rebounds) was caught putting stickum on the basketball. Howard was only 2-of-7 from the floor, but did grab 17 rebounds. James Harden (28.6 points) sprained his ankle in the third quarter and is listed day-to-day.
Oklahoma City is sitting comfortably in the third spot with no chance to catch the Spurs for second and 4.5 games clear of 4th place Clippers. The Thunder just ended a perfect 3-0 road trip and have won four straight overall. They’ve scored at least 111 points a game in that stretch capped off by a 115-111 win at Indiana on Saturday. Russell Westbrook picked up his 14th triple-double of the season with 14 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. He has five triple-doubles in his last eight games and would probably be the runaway MVP choice if not for Stephen Curry of Golden State. Westbrook finished with 26 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s 116-108 home win over Houston on January 29th. Thunder reserve C Enes Kanter has recorded a double-double in four of the last six games and had 15 points in 24 minutes on Saturday. Kevin Durant had his highest point total since February 27th as he poured in 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds for the second consecutive game.
Houston needs this win a lot more than Oklahoma City. The Thunder will still pull out the win, but the Rockets keep it close in a high scoring game.
Pick: Rockets +9.5