OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

Game 11 Preview: Houston Rockets at Thunder

Tipoff Time: 8:00PM EST

The Thunder come into this game off of their biggest win of the year thus far.  Conversely, the Rockets are looking at a season that was once full of promise quickly circling the drain due to a lot of close losses and now recurring injuries.  Houston will be without Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks tonight, which leaves them paper thin (barely three men deep) and lacking in offensive punch.  And on Friday night, the Thunder are traveling to Boston for a rematch.

This type of game sends two signals:

  1. The game itself is a mismatch.
  2. This is a classic trap game.

This game is of the type that does not and should not require herculean effort.  Rather, it is a game where if the coaches prepare the team properly, the Thunder can get a win in an efficient manner and be well-rested for Friday.  This is what the Thunder need to do:

  • Look to their collapse against the Clippers and remember that their defensive rebounding cuts off inferior teams’ chances.
  • Go to the bench early and often to keep fresh legs in and wear out the shallow Rockets bench.
  • Scola will probably be too much to handle for Ibaka, so it would probably be best to get Collison in the game early to defend him.  Scola is a physical player with a deft touch and good passing skills.  These kinds of big men can capitalize on an over-committed defense.  The Thunder must continue their strong inside play.
  • Be patient on offense.  The Rockets’ Kevin Martin can light it up offensively, so it is important to limit the amount of touches he gets, both through good defense and a purposeful offense.

Prediction: Thunder by 9

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