The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder meet in Game 6 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Houston will aim to send the Thunder packing, currently leading the seven-game series, 3-2. The winner of the series will face the 1-seed Los Angeles Lakers in the semifinals.
Tip-off of Monday night’s Game 6 is set for 9 p.m. EST inside ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. You can watch the game live on TNT. According to oddsmakers, the Rockets are a -6.5 favorite in the contest.
What to Know – Houston Rockets
After building a 2-0 lead to start the opening series, the Rockets dropped the next pair to the Thunder before rebounding to take Game 5, 114-80, on Saturday. The 34-point win was the highest margin of victory in the series, aided by a 20-7 start by the Rockets. Houston welcomed back Russell Westbrook, who was returning to action for the first time in the playoffs.
All-Star James Harden led the Rockets in scoring, pouring in a game-high 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting. Harden was 4-for-8 from the three-point-line and added five assists. Robert Covington chipped in 22 points, the most he has scored since the league restart, nail a team-high six 3-point tries. 20 of Covington’s total came in the second half.
Houston shot 43 percent (43-for-100) from the floor, which included a 39.6 percent (19-for-48) mark from beyond the arc. The Rockets committed just 11 turnovers while dishing 28 assists.
What to Know – Oklahoma City Thunder
After winning two-straight to even the series, the Thunder produced their lowest scoring total inside the bubble on Saturday and put themselves on the brink of playoff elimination. Dennis Schroder was ejected around the midway point in the third quarter for hitting a Houston player in the groin while attempting to get through a screen.
Although logging just 21 minutes of action before the ejection, Schroder was the team’s leading scorer with 19 points (6-for-13). Chris Paul added 16 points but made just one 3-point field goal attempt (1-for-5). Center Steven Adams supplied 12 and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Thunder made just 31.5 percent (29-for-92) of their shots, including a measly 15.2 percent (7-for-46) from the 3-point line. The shooting from the arc was the lowest total since the pause in play.
The Pick is In
Oklahoma City looked like a completely different team Saturday night compared to earlier in the week when they were victorious over Houston. It was an emotional and mentally draining few days for many in the league, which could have been a reason for the sluggish play on OKC’s end. Now it is win-or-go-home time for the Thunder, and they will have to do it with the presence of Westbrook now in the lineup.
The time off appears to have come at the perfect time for the Rockets to right the ship. Take Houston -6.5 in this one to send the Thunder packing.