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The series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets has been disappointing.
The Rockets have a young and talented roster headlined by former Thunder Sixth Man of the Year Award winner James Harden. However, with three straight playoff losses, Houston’s record against OKC this season has dipped to 1-5.
A major reason for Houston’s postseason struggles is the shooting woes of its starters. The ailing Jeremy Lin is shooting 25 percent from the field and 11 percent from three-point range. Harden is shooting 36.9 percent from the field and 19 percent from three-point land. Chandler Parsons is shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from downtown.
With those grim shooting percentages, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Rockets have failed to win a game against OKC during the playoffs. However, Harden and Parsons are too good to struggle this badly for long.
If you add in the fact that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will miss the remainder of the postseason due to a torn meniscus in his knee, the playing field has been leveled a bit between these two Western Conference foes.
The Thunder gutted out a three-point road win to extend the series lead to 3-0 on Saturday, but it took a Herculean 41-point effort from Kevin Durant to get the job done. His 41 points tied a playoff career high.
Considering that the Thunder needed 41 points from KD to snag a close three-point victory, Houston may finally be in a position to win a playoff game on Monday.
If the Rockets can find their shooting stroke (at least to a decent degree) while tightening up defensively on Durant, they’ll succeed at avoiding a series sweep.
Prediction: Houston Rockets (Do I already regret picking against KD? Yes, yes I do.)