The Oklahoma City Thunder return home tonight to try and close out the Houston Rockets for the second time in this series.
The Thunder had a chance to sweep Houston Monday night in Game 4 but came up just short, losing 105-103.
Serge Ibaka missed a putback as time expired that would have sent the game into overtime.
Kevin Durant had another monster performance throwing up 38 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He did turn the ball over seven times however but he was 12-for-16 from the field.
The Rockets were hot from deep and hit the offensive glass which helped them come out on top. James Harden had a very weak game for them scoring just 15 points and turning the ball over 10 times.
Odds are the rest of the games in this series will be tight. Both teams didn’t quite play as well as they could have in Game 4 but also came up big in other areas. If it balances out at all, we’re still in for another close game.
The Rockets showed in Game 2 – the first game in which they totally committed to small ball – that they can hang with the Thunder in OKC. And the Thunder had Russell Westbrook for that game.
As long as the Rockets keep playing small, they should have enough depth for enough guys to step up and knock down shots while they continue to give the Thunder trouble by spreading the floor.
The Thunder’s offense is still a work in progress since the Westbrook injury. Durant handled the ball slightly less in Game 4 than in Game 3 but the stagnant sets still showed up late in the game.
Reggie Jackson can still handle the ball more in the pick-and-roll as he continues to learn the right decisions to make. Kevin Martin did a decent job establishing himself. And Derek Fisher can’t miss.
The Thunder had to work so hard to get Durant touches and only his brilliance saved them and made it a close game.
The real key for the Thunder though is to hurt the Rockets on the offensive glass. Ibaka needs to be the guy here. He had seven offensive boards in the Game 3 win but just two to go with eight points in the last game.
The Thunder should be able to settle down some since they are at home and get a better offensive game from everyone. The way Houston is stacking up on defending Durant has made it so that the open spot-up looks still exist for the Thunder role players. They’ll shoot better at home.
The game will tip at 8:30 p.m. CST tonight and air nationally on TNT.