I think tonight could be a competitive game in Houston. The Thunder obviously don’t have the offensive firepower that Houston does, but they play really good defense, can create offense off their defense, and they move the ball really well. OKC was basically written off to almost the basement of the Western Conference once they traded PG and Westbrook, but GIlgeous-Alexander is a really good player (24.3 ppg, 37% 3p, 51% FG so far), CP can still play good defense on Westbrook, Steven Adams can play good defense on Capela, and Gallinari (20 ppg, 53% FG, 38% career 3P shooter) is one of the most underrated players in the NBA in my opinion. Schroder off the bench is another scrappy player that fits the mould of OKC’s identity.
The risk with this play is OKC doesn’t have that 3rd or 4th guy off the bench you can rely on for scoring, but Houston’s defense hasn’t been very good early on – the Pelicans scored 37 points in the 2nd quarter on them, 39 in the 3rd quarter, and 123 for the game – in a 126-123 Rockets home win where they never came close to covering the 12 point spread. OKC should play with intensity on defense and has the potential to hold Houston below their normal output. It’s a big game for Westbrook, but I think when these teams play in OKC it will be a bigger game for him. CP is obviously the inferior player of the two but tonight is a big game for him and he should have OKC ready for a good effort.
OKC blew out Golden State yesterday which, given the state of GS, isn’t really that impressive right now but at the very least OKC will come into this game with a lot of confidence. Because it was a blowout nobody played more than 30 mins for OKC yesterday so the back-to-back effect isn’t as strong. OKC went wire to wire with a very good Jazz team on opening night in a 100-95 loss as 9 point dogs and I like a small dart on them as 10 point dogs tonight and think this play is correlated with the Under 227.5 as the Thunder are 3-0 to the Under and haven’t come close to going Over in any game.