The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder meet on Monday for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series The Rockets won Game 5 by a mile and have put the Thunder on the brink of elimination. The Thunder have been resilient all-year long but with their backs against the proverbial wall, they will need a big effort from their key players if they are to ground the Rockets and their high-scoring attack.
The winner of every game in this series, straight up, has covered the spread. OKC won two out of three regular-season meetings and was 3-0 ATS in those games. But this is the postseason and the Rockets have looked better than the Thunder through five games played.
Game time is at 9 PM ET of August 31st and the game will be played at the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida.
The Rockets regained control of the series by emerging from a four-day break with a big 114-80 win over the Thunder. James Harden scored 31 points in only 28 minutes of action while Robert Covington and Eric Gordon added 22 and 20 points, respectively. Russell Westbrook played for the first time in the series and despite going just 3-13 from the floor, Russ contributed seven assists and six rebounds for Houston.
The Rockets shot 43.3% from the floor and made 19 out of 48 three-pointers for 39.6% from deep. With Westbrook missing the first four games of the series, Houston has gotten a big lift from Gordon (19,4 PPG), Jeff Green (15.6 points and 7.8 rebounds), and Danuel House (14.2 PPG) in the series. With Westbrook back, the Rockets have become more dangerous.
Houston is averaging 113.8 points per game in this series but with Westbrook’s return, we should see the scoring numbers normalize. The Rockets have been putting up a ton of three-pointers in the series at 52.8 per game and they have hit 36.4% of those. If the Rockets continue to make their shots in Game 6, they should be able to close out the series and head to the next round against the Lakers.
Odds from BetOnline as of 08/30/2020
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder came out flat after winning two straight games. The Thunder were able to tie the series in Game 4 after trailing 0-2 but they scored only 80 points in Game 5 and let the Rockets run away with the game. OKC shot only 31.5% from the floor and made just seven out of 46 three-point attempts or 15.2%. That won’t get the job done in the postseason, more so against the Rockets.
Dennis Schroder led the Thunder in Game 5 with 19 points and he has led the team in scoring in their last three assignments. Chris Paul leads the Thunder in scoring in this series at 20.4 points per game but CP3 only tallied 16 in Game 5. Schroder is the second-leading scorer in the postseason at 19.4 points per game while Steven Adams finished Game 5 with a double-double of 12 points and 14 boards.
The Thunder have been held to just 104.4 points per game in this series while shooting 42.5% from the floor and 37.7% from three-ball. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 17 points per game in the series, scored only four points on 2-8 shooting in Game 5. Danilo Gallinari scored only one point in the loss, going 0-5 from the floor. If the Thunder want to extend the series to a Game 7, SGA and Gallinari must put up their regular numbers.
Houston is 5-5 SU in their last 10 games played. The Rockets are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games against the Western Conference. Oklahoma City is 2-4 SU in their last six games played. The Thunder are 0-6 SU in their last six games played on the road, and 2-4 SU in their last six games played in August. Head to head, the Thunder are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played against the Rockets.
The Rockets have been hit and miss from three-ball in this series. But what we saw in Game 5 was their ability to take the ball to the basket. That has been amplified with the return of Russell Westbrook James Harden is coming off his most efficient game of the series and you know how streaky the Beard can be. With Westbrook back to attack the basket, the Rockets will have better three-point opportunities here.
OKC has been resilient all season long and we saw that in Game 4. However, Mike D’Antoni has clamped down on their wingmen and allowed Dort to shoot all day. That strategy paid off as the rookie went 3-16 from the floor in Game 5. The Thunder has not found a consistent scoring threat outside Chris Paul and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. Danilo Gallinari has been inconsistent but you know all three players can score big at the same time.
Give the Thunder credit for making it this far and it has been a very successful playoff season instead of the rebuild that many thought would happen this year. Billy Donovan has done a great job but his team just doesn’t have enough firepower to match Houston’s explosive backcourt. I like the Rockets to win behind their MVP backcourt tandem.
Prediction: Houston Rockets
Other Bets To Make
The Rockets are 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games played. Houston is only 1-4 ATS in their last five games played at home. The Thunder are 2-4 ATS in their last six games played. Oklahoma City is 2-6 ATS in their last eight games played against the Western Conference. Head to head, the Thunder are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings against the Rockets. OKC is also 5-0 ATS when the Rockets hit the road against them.
Odds from BetOnline as of 08/30/2020
The Rockets have outscored the Thunder by an average of 6.33 points per game in their last three head to head matchups and their three wins over OKC in this series have come by at least 14 points. Westbrook played his first game of the playoffs in Game 5 and look what happened. I think that the Rockets have this series in the bag and I expect them to win comfortably again in Game 6.
Prediction: Rockets -5.5
The total has gone under in six out of the last 10 games played by the Rockets. The under is 10-5 in Houston’s last 15 games played against the Western Conference and also 8-4 in their last 12 games played in August. The total has gone over in six out of the last nine games played by the Thunder but the under is 4-2 in their last six games away from the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Head to head, the under is 6-4 in the last 10 meetings between these two teams and they have combined to average just 217.0 points per game in their last three encounters.
Odds from BetOnline as of 08/30/2020
We haven’t seen the best offensive output from both teams in this series. Only two out of the five games in this series have yielded a total of over 226 points and we are coming off a game where these two teams only combined for a total of 194.Â Before the playoffs, the Rockets were averaging 107.4 possessions per 48 minutes. That has been reduced to 100.2 possessions per 48 minutes in this series. The Thunder have also held the Rockets to four points below their season scoring average in this matchup despite Houston taking seven more three-pointers per game.
On the other hand, the Rockets have held the Thunder to an average of 104.4 points per game in the playoffs after OKC averaged 110.4 points per game during the regular season. Houston has held OKC to 108 or fewer points in the game they’ve won and should limit them again as the Rockets take this series.
Prediction: Under 226.5