The Houston Rockets are one of the hottest teams in the league. On Wednesday, they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder, which are struggling since the All-Star break.
The Rockets are 13-2 for since the start of February and are riding a five-game winning streaking entering the game versus the Thunder, which are just 3-5 since the break.
Curiously, this is also the same stretch where star point guard Russell Westbrook has returned from a right knee surgery.
Houston did it in style too, with statement wins over the likes of the Miami Heat, 106-103; Indiana Pacers, 112-86 and the Portland Trailblazers, 118-113 (OT).
Conversely, the Thunder's struggles are magnified with defeats to average or lowly teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, 114-104 and the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-110
OKC’s offense had no problem against the Lakers as they got huge stats off Kevin Durant (27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists); Westbrook (20 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists) and Serge Ibaka (21 points and 15 rebounds) led the team.
The defense was another story however. They allowed role player Jodie Meeks a career-high 42 points (11/18 FG, 6/11 3FG) and let the Lakers shoot 46.9 per cent from the field (38/81 FG) as a team.
Meanwhile, James Harden scored 41 points in Houston's comeback victory over Portland. The Rockets trailed by double-digits in the fourth quarter and Houston’s star was clutch at crunchtime hitting a game-tying three-pointer to force the extra period.
It was a total team effort for the Rockets too. Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 26 points while Chandler Parsons (16 points and 7 rebounds), Dwight Howard (17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots) and Patrick Beverley (12 points and 4 steals) all chipped in for Houston.
The match-up is also a meeting between two of the highest-scoring teams in the league. Houston is third averaging 106.6 points per game while Oklahoma City is fifth with 105.5 PPG.
Watch this big Western match-up between the Thunder and Rockets via NBA League Pass.