Date/Time: April 24, 2013, 7:00 pm ET
Basketball Odds from UcaBet
Point Spread: Oklahoma City -11
The Houston Rockets will try to avoid digging a 2-0 hole in their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. Houston was dominated 120-91 by Oklahoma City in Game One. The Rockets shot only 36 percent, and they were never really in the game. Will this one be any closer or will the Thunder roll to another victory?
It’s no secret that James Harden was a huge part of Oklahoma City’s success last year and he is now a member of the Houston Rockets. Harden was among the league leaders in scoring this year. He averaged 25.9 points per game. He was just 6 for 19 from the floor in the first game, and the Rockets definitely need a better effort out of him in Game Two. Jeremy Lin was 1 for 7 from the floor and had four turnovers in Game One. Lin’s inconsistency has been maddening for Rockets fans this year. He’ll have to be at his best for the team to have any chance of winning in this series.
Houston likes to run the floor and win the transition game, but Oklahoma City actually outscored them 24 to 20 on fastbreak points in Game One. The Rockets settled for 36 three-point shots. Houston normally takes quite a few long range shots, but when you are shooting 36 from beyond the arc it usually isn’t a good sign. The Rockets only hit 8 out of 36 (22.2%) from three-point range. Look for Houston to try to get to the basket more in Game Two.
Oklahoma City got to the NBA Finals before falling to the Miami Heat last season. The Thunder have their sights set on a return trip to the NBA Finals this year, but they have work to do first. Oklahoma City had four guys score 16 points or more in Game One of this series, and their ability to win with multiple guys leading the way is tough for opponents to keep up with. Oklahoma City has several guys who are great at getting to the line, and they all shoot it very well from the charity stripe. As a team the Thunder shoot 83 percent from the line, which is best in the NBA.
Kevin Durant is unquestionably the leader of this team. Durant led the West in scoring at 28.1 points per game this year. He shot a career-best 51 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three-point range. Russell Westbrook’s decision making is often highly criticized, but he does a lot to help this team win. Westbrook is a stat-sheet stuffer, and he is always a tough guy to guard. Why is Oklahoma City going to be such a tough out this year? Oklahoma City is now second in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. The Thunder are no longer just a team that outscores its opponent.
Free Pick: Thunder -11
Houston settles for too many bad shots, and the Thunder have a lot more scoring options than the Rockets. This just isn’t a good matchup for the Rockets. Oklahoma City should roll again.
Oklahoma City 117 Houston 98
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!