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Houston Rockets vs. OKC Thunder Game 2 NBA Preview & Free Pick

Rockets vs Thunder NBA Handicapping

Oklahoma City playing at home in the playoffs is about as close to a lock as there is in the NBA.

Western Conference
Houston Rockets (0-1) at Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0)
Wednesday, April 24
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
7 p.m. EST
Spread – Thunder -11 at TopBet
O/U – 212

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The Thunder, who take on the hopelessly overmatched Houston Rockets tonight in OKC in Game 2 of their Western Conference playoff series, lost only one home playoff game last season (to the Heat, natch, in The Finals).

In Game 1 of this series they looked dominating cubed in rolling to a 29-point win – a victory so dominant that by halftime fans of both teams were thinking that this thing might not even go five games.

The Rockets have had a few days to purge Game 1 from their system and re-group for a Game 2 that figures to be closer, if for no other reason than every playoff team has enough talent to at least avoid losing back-to-back 30-point games.

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Houston centerpiece James Harden admitted that he and his teammates were shaken by the atmosphere in the frenetic Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

“There were definitely nerves,” said Harden, who scored 20 points but had to take 19 shots (13 misses) to do it. “Not just for me, but also for my teammates that were going through their [first] playoff game on the road.”

Houston PG Jeremy Lin, who has commented more than once this season about the necessity of the Rockets playing hard for the full 48 minutes and not losing concentration, was hounded by OKC’s Russell Westbrook into a 4-ppoint night on 1-for-6 shooting. As a team, Houston was outshot by OKC 53-36 percent, and when that happens on the road, the result is predictable. [ad-6571516]

Westbrook and Kevin Durant jogged through 7-for-15 nights and were able to sit most of the fourth period after the Thunder put this one safely in their backpack, so they should have their legs under them tonight. Either one is capable of going off for 40, making Houston’s defensive options spread thin.

The Rockets wisely headed back to Houston rather than spend the previous few nights in an Oklahoma City hotel, but unless Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson suddenly show up in the locker room around 6 p.m. tonight, there doesn’t appear to be much Kevin McHale can do to stem this strong tide.

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Houston’s poor offensive performance in Game 1 (the Rockets’ total of 91 points was 15 below their average during the regular season) convinced oddsmakers to knock 1.5 points off the total, which sat at 212 early this morning.

Fatigue won’t be a problem in this one since the teams had two full days of rest between games, so an OVER play is in order.

Laying double digits in any playoff game is usually a surefire way to thin out a wallet, but OKC is just playing too well right now, and the Rockets don’t have the look or feel of a live road dog. Suggest avoiding the side and playing the total here.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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