The Houston Rockets (44-28) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-28) square off in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series. The Rockets own a 2-1 record in the opening series that included a 2-0 start in the best-of-seven series.
The Thunder bounced back with an 18-point overtime victory on Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. EST tip-off inside ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. You can see the afternoon game live on TNT. The Houston Rockets are a slight -3 point favorite, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Houston Rockets
After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the series, the Rockets stumbled in overtime being outscored 15-3 by the Thunder. The Rockets had led for the first three-quarters of the contest before a late comeback by Oklahoma City forced overtime.
All-Star James Harden has been the team’s leading scorer in all three games so far in the playoffs. The shooting guard scored 38 points in Game 3, his highest total this series. He went 12-of-27 from the field, including 11-of-15 from the free-throw line. Harden just connected on three of his 13 three-point field goal tries.
Jeff Green came off the bench to add 22 points for Houston, aided by five 3-pointers. Eric Gordon chipped in 18 while Danel House Jr. supplied 15 points.
Houston shot 41.3 percent from the field (38-of-92) and just 30 percent from the arc (15-of-50). The Rockets also made only 69.6 percent of their free-throw attempts (16-of-23).
What to Know – Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City fought back after being beaten by 22 and 15 points in the first two games of the series. The victory snaps a three-game losing streak for the Thunder who went 4-4 over the final eight games of the regular season in the bubble.
Dennis Shroder came off the bench to score a team-high 29 points in the overtime victory for the Thunder. The guard shot 10-of-23 from the floor while adding five rebounds and five assists over 39 minutes of action.
Chris Paul added 26 points while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 26, and Danilo Gallinari poured in 20. Gilgeous-Alexander hauled in seven rebounds and led the team with six assists.
Oklahoma City was 44.6 percent shooting (41-of-92) and 34.1 percent from three-point range (14-of-41). The Thunder were even worse from the free-throw line than the Rockets, connecting on just 67.6 percent (23-of-34) of their tries.
The Pick is In
The Thunder finished 2-1 against the Rockets during the regular season. When George, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Schroder are all playing well together, the Thunder are difficult to beat. If they can put it together again for Game 4, the Thunder should not only cover but win the game outright.
We believe they will continue to play well now that the first victory has given them some confidence. We like Oklahoma City +3 with some additional lunch money on the Thunder to win outright.