Apr 24, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant in the second half during game two of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Thunder Threats: The Houston Role Players

A game against the Houston Rockets is always an interesting one.  The Bearded Man who must not be named, the worst team player in the NBA (Dwight Howard), that one guy that ruined the Thunder’s titles chances in 2012 (Patrick Beverly, and a bunch of other role players make up the Houston Rockets.  Sounds like it should be an easy win for OKC, right? Wrong.

Let’s go ahead and take last year as an example of what can happen when these two Western Conference powers face off:

January 16 @ Houston: In a game where the blue and orange were without their All-Star PG Russell Westbrook, KD had an average night, dropping 36 points, while Serge Ibaka scored 21 and grabbed 15 boards.  Throw in 21 points and 6 steals for Reggie Jackson and it’s easy to see how the Thunder were able to hold the Rockets to only 19 points in the second half after allowing 73 in the first.  Final Score: OKC 104-HOU 92

April 4 @ Houston: On a night which saw Kevin Durant tie Michael Jordan’s record for most consecutive 40-point games and showcase some fourth quarter heroics, it’s hard to believe Houston was able to escape with a win.  But with Russell Westbrook resting on the bench and the fact it just so happened to be the night where that Bearded Man would have his best statistical output of the season, dropping 39 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds on the Thunder, including some late free throws to seal the deal for the Thunder, the odds were insurmountable for OKC.  Final Score: OKC 107-HOU 111

Judging from those two outcomes, it’s hard to gauge what the outcome of a game between these two will amount to.  But it’s always seemed like a game between both teams usually comes down to which has the better role players; and while some may bash on Kendrick Perkins, it has to be understood that he’s kept on the team for one reason: to lock down dominant big men a la Dwight Howard.  But while that all helps, there’s one constant that can ensure victory for either team this upcoming season: the superstars have to play like superstars.

 

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder

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