The OKC Thunder – Houston Rockets are set to play Game 6 at 8:00 p.m. CT in a win or go home match. Here’s everything you need to know.
Following the worst loss the OKC Thunder has experienced in months they’ll look to rebound in what is now a win or go home situation. Typically, this 2019-20 Thunder team has risen to challenges especially after a blowout.
They’ll need to channel that competitiveness for this Game 6 because a loss would end their season.
Starting the game with energy and aggression shouldn’t be an issue but that’s been the nemesis of this squad the entirety of the season. Adding to their stress was the events of last week when the players put the postseason on pause and the isolation of being in the bubble for over seven weeks without family.
The good news is once this series is decided the players will reunite with family regardless of what happens. Win the series and reunite with loved ones in the bubble or lose and travel home.
There are only two of the opening-round series to be decided with the Bucks, Lakers and Clippers winning this weekend. Other the OKC Thunder – Rockets series the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets are still embroiled in the first round. The latter was pushed to Game 7 when the Nuggets won Sunday.
The Lakers await the winner of the Thunder – Rockets series and OKC is hoping to keep LeBron and company waiting at least a few more days by forcing a Game 7 via victory tonight.
Everything you need to know about OKC Thunder – Rockets Game 6
Murphy’s Law hit hard as the OKC Thunder were unable to get anything right in Game 5. The only player with any offensive flow going was Dennis Schroder and he got ejected in the third quarter after an altercation with Rockets defensive specialist P.J. Tucker.
Meanwhile, the Harden whisperer Luguentz Dort had his worst game with the varsity both in terms of stopping James Harden and a terrible offensive outing. The Rockets earmarked Dort as a player they would leave wide open hoping he’d throw up copious unsuccessful 3-point shots. The Canadian took the bait and Billy Donovan took too long to make the tweak for Luguentz Dort to drive the ball in those situations or at least be more selective on when to shoot from deep.
They’ll have made adjustments for Game 6, but the Thunder also need two other starters to snap out of their offensive doldrums. Danilo Gallinari scored a single point in Game 6 and missed his five field-goal attempts while cornerstone Shai Gilgeous-Alexander couldn’t get rolling on either side of the hardwood as the Rockets exposed him defensively.
Gallo needs to be more aggressive on offense and his team needs to get him the ball more frequently to increase his shot attempts. SGA has to flush away his performance and simply play within himself. The Canadian allowed the fact he wasn’t scoring and the Rockets isolating on him defensively to get in his head and the resulting effect was anything but the smooth style of player Thunder Nation has become accustomed to.
SGA and Gallo need to approach Game 6 as an opportunity to showcase their mettle.
The other noteable is Darius Bazley has looked good in his limited minutes on the court and warranted extra playing time. If Gallo struggles again then Billy Donovan shouldn’t hesitate to get Bazley in the game. And there is also the option of playing Gallo and Bazley at the four and five as a lineup tweak.
On the opposite side, former OKC Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook made his debut in the series and was clearly still rusty. Westbrook will be eager to push the Rockets’ pace and is likely eager to be a factor in ending his former team’s playoffs.
For the sixth game in a row, the oddsmakers are favoring the Rockets with a 5.5 point spread.
The over/under remains the same as Game 6 at 225.5 points. While the best Thunder money line is plus 205 for the Thunder and minus 230 for the Rockets.
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Deonte Burton has been suffering from a stomach ailment and is listed as questionable for Monday.
Isaiah Roby remains out for the season and no new injuries were added to the list.
Luc Mbah a Moute remains out with a left knee effusion and won’t play Monday but no new additions were made to the injury list.
Thabo Sefolosha and David Nwaba are out for the season.
The series could end tonight if the Rockets win so the OKC Thunder know their backs are against the wall. is knotted at two games apiece with meaning it’s become a best of three series. Although the winner of this game isn’t guaranteed to take the series, the winners of Game 5 typically go on to win over 75 percent of the time.
The Venue: Walt Disney World Resort. The AdventHealth Arena.
Tipoff: 9:00 PM ET | 8:00 PM CT
National TV: TNT | NBA League Pass
Local TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS 98.1 FM OKC
Check back after the game for Thunderous Intentions player grades from Game 6 and the three takeaways will follow in the morning.