Thunder Look to Ruin Rockets’ Sweet 16 Party in TNT Showdown

thunder rockets

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 5, 2018 5:58 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 5:58 PM GMT

The clear game of the night in the NBA Tuesday is Houston looking to extend its winning streak to 16 as it visits Oklahoma City in an 8 p.m. ET TNT matchup.

Houston (49-13, 32-29-1 ATS) at Oklahoma City (37-28, 26-39 ATS)Free NBA Pick: ThunderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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TNT has a Tuesday doubleheader this week in addition to Thursday, and the game of Tuesday night features Houston visiting Oklahoma City with an 8 p.m. ET tip. It’s the second of three meetings this regular season, with OKC going to Houston on April 7.

On Christmas, the Thunder were 2.5-point home favorites and beat the Rockets 112-107 – that was in the midst of Houston’s worst run of the season as it lost five straight games from Dec. 20-Dec. 29. The Rockets haven’t even lost five total games since.

Russell Westbrook had 31 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, Paul George 24 points and Carmelo Anthony 20. James Harden had 29 points and 14 assists but was just 3-for-11 from long range. Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon each had 20. Gordon, usually the sixth man, started because Chris Paul was out injured. The Rockets are simply a completely different team with Paul in the lineup.

Houston is just 4-11 in its past 15 trips to Oklahoma City. Should be a high-scoring affair as the Rockets are averaging 113.4 points in the past five meetings overall and the Thunder 111.4 ppg. The underdog has covered four of the past five.

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Rampaging Rockets

It’s frankly incredible what Houston is doing as the Rockets have won 15 straight games, tied for the second-best mark in franchise history (2007-08 club won 22 in a row but was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs) and the team’s second winning streak of at least 14 games this season. Mike D'Antoni has joined Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Red Auerbach and Rick Adelman as the only NBA coaches to have 15-game win streaks with multiple teams. D’Antoni also did it in 2006-07 with the Phoenix Suns.

Yet, despite this run the Rockets are still just a half-game ahead of the Warriors for the best record in the NBA; remember, Houston owns the tiebreaker. Golden State remains the -260 West favorite at BetOnline with Houston at +275. On Saturday night in a potential NBA Finals preview, the Rockets edged the Celtics 123-120 behind 29 points from Gordon and 26 from Harden. It was the MVP favorite’s 11th straight game with at least 25 points. That’s tied with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (Dec. 2-26) for the longest such streak in the NBA this season. Will the Rockets have stretch-four Ryan Anderson for this one? He has missed the past three with a hip injury but is close to a return. Anderson averages 10.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

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Incredible teamwork leading us to 15 straight wins! @WeWork #WorkWeLove

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 4, 2018

Oklahoma City isn’t even a lock for the playoffs and is the No. 7 seed as things currently stand. Needless to say, no team wants to finish seventh or eighth as that means a first-round date with either Houston or Golden State.

The Thunder might be the most schizophrenic team in the NBA, capable of beating anyone or losing to anyone on a given night. They had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 108-100 loss in Portland on Saturday. Carmelo Anthony got the second of a back-to-back off. Melo is just five points behind Jerry West for No. 20 all-time. Westbrook had 30 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Corey Brewer made his OKC debut after being bought out by the Lakers. The team is hoping he can help make up defensively for the loss of Andre Roberson for the season. Roberson usually gave Harden fits. Brewer picked OKC because he played for Billy Donovan at Florida.

So which Thunder team shows up here? The one that has beaten Golden State twice, Houston in that first meeting and hung 148 points on the Cavs in their own gym, or the one that lost by 32 recently in Golden State and has defeats to the Kings, Mavericks, Magic, Nets, Knicks and Suns? I’m guessing the good version shows up Tuesday as it’s arguably the biggest home game left on the schedule. OKC is 13-5 ATS in its past 18 on two days of rest. The Rockets are just 2-6 ATS in that scenario. Take the points for a Tuesday NBA pick.

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