- The Oklahoma City Thunder trail the Houston Rockets 2-1 after a 119-107 victory in Game 3
- Russell Westbrook has missed the entirety of this series so far with a quad injury
- Read below for analysis on this pivotal Game 4 tilt
After two games that saw the Houston Rockets win in convincing fashion, the Oklahoma City Thunder came roaring back with a 119-107 win in Game 3 to bring the series to 2-1. Chris Paul may have put some momentum back on his team’s side, but it is James Harden’s squad that has the edge in the Thunder vs Rockets odds.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets Game 4 Odds
|Houston Rockets||-3 (-110)||-152||O 221.0 (-110)|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+3 (-110)||+128||U 221.0 (-110)|
Odds taken Aug. 23
OKC Gets 1st Win of the Series
Despite 38 points from James Harden, Houston suffered its first defeat of this first round series at the hands of Oklahoma City’s balanced attack. Dennis Schroeder put up 29, while Chris Paul scored 26, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23, and Danilo Gallinari 20 on the way to a Game 3 win.
It helped that James Harden fouled out early in the overtime period. It was only after that when Oklahoma City took command of the game. After Harden’s exit, the Thunder outscored Houston 15-3.
The biggest absence so far in this series is Houston point guard Russell Westbrook. At the beginning of this series, he was still suffering the effects of a quad injury that was improving, but still bad enough to keep him out. Things were trending in the right direction, and most speculation pointed towards the middle of this series as a point of return.
Houston, however, has exceeded expectations and played well enough to take the pressure off of Westbrook, at least for the time being. That quick 2-0 lead in the series has given the Rockets an extra window of time to play it safe with Russ, and even in defeat, it was only a rare foul-out from Harden that allowed the Thunder to be dominant.
However, the result of Game 3 immediately reinserts a sense of urgency into this series. Three games in, with just a one-game lead, now is the time to get the second superstar back on the court.
In missing Westbrook, the Rockets have been missing an average of 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. He’s exactly what is needed to finish off one of the league’s most resilient teams.
What’s the Best Bet?
The Thunder weren’t dominant until Harden’s exit, but they did figure some things out in the second half of Game 3. In the third and fourth quarters, OKC outscored Houston 47-41 to bring the game even and force OT. Down the stretch, they were the epitome of balance, with a fourth quarter that included two big threes from Schroeder, a late corner three from Gilgeous-Alexander, and a couple of big shots from CP3.
The Thunder did, however, still need overtime to beat Houston on a pretty poor shooting night for the Rockets. Harden was 3-for-13 from behind the arc, but poor shooting performances came across the roster, including from Eric Gordon (2-for-10), PJ Tucker (2-for-5), Austin Rivers (0-for-4), and Ben McLemore (0-for-2). Houston shot just 15-for-50 from three-point range — a 30% clip.
Houston gets open threes at such a high rate, and their roster is so full of shooters, that nights like that feel almost guaranteed to have a bounce back in the next game. This was a bad night offensively across the board for Houston, and they still forced overtime. The Rockets are the better team in this series, and they should be knocking down their shots in Game 4.
The Pick: Rockets -3 (-110)