2020-08-29 – Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
A Sports Betting Preview by FirstDown
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets
Basketball : United States NBA PlayOffs First Round Game 5
Saturday 29th August 2020 – Scheduled 6:30pm
11:30pm (British Time)
Before you read the rest of this preview for Game 5 of the NBA PlayOffs, I have to address the reason this game was postponed for a couple of days.The Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the NBA decided they would not be willing to play basketball while another senseless shooting of an African-American by a police offer had just occurred in the United States.
I fully stand by the athletes for making the decisions they did.
The Houston Rockets have to be looking around their locker room and wondering how this First Round Series is tied at 2-2 having had multiple chances to win the last two games. They blew out the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first two games of this First Round and looked to be on the way to another win in Game 3, but late mistakes cost them and it was more of the same in Game 4 despite being in a strong position again.
At first it really felt like the Rockets were not going to be missing Russell Westbrook as much as most thought they might, but now fans will be checking the injury reports and wondering if he can make it back in time to face his former team. It is very unlikely Westbrook suits up for Game 5 so it is up to the current roster to rediscover some of the rhythm which has slowly been deteriorating in each game in the Series.
There was a slight improvement in the shooting numbers in Game 4 having seen those numbers slip in each of the first three games. That will encourage the Rockets, but they made some really poor errors down the stretch as it looked like they were going to hang on to a narrow lead and move into a 3-1 lead in the First Round.
Turnovers, poor Defensive adjustments and too many cold stretches from the field allowed the Oklahoma City Thunder to recover and level the Series with Chris Paul particularly vocal about things. Chris Paul has something to prove having been jettisoned to the Thunder in the Westbrook trade last year, but he will be very happy to see the support he is getting from his back court team-mates who teamed together to have another big outing in Game 4.
Throughout this Series the Thunder have been struggling with the three point shot in terms of a percentage made, but they have hit just enough to stay within range of the Rockets. You do still have to feel that much depends on Houston and if they do get hot from the distance then it will be very difficult for Oklahoma City to stay with them, but the Thunder have also found the soft spots in the Defensive unit which has allowed them to find their shooting.
Game 4 was the best shooting display from the Thunder in the First Round Series so far and all the adjustments have to be made by the Houston Rockets. The reality is that Oklahoma City are hanging around long enough to hurt the Thunder late and the Defensive effort on James Harden is slowing down the best player on the court.
Billy Donovan has also been humble enough to accept that the Thunder have had to make changes to deal with a Rockets line up they would not have seen in the regular season. The Rockets are a smaller team now and so Donovan has decided to go with a smaller line up in the clutch which has seen his team find spaces in the Houston Defense and make the big shots to just about get over the line.
Picking a winner in Game 5 is not easy and this is a Series I have not had a very good grip on even if I feel the Houston Rockets have had their chances in the last two games to cover when picking them to do so.
I am not going to try in this one with Oklahoma City having the momentum thanks to their late heroics in the last two games, but my lean is towards another high-scoring game.
Houston are the better team and they will not stop looking for the open three point shooter- if they get hot from the distance it will force the Thunder to get into a shoot-out, but Oklahoma City are also looking to find spacing in the last couple of games which has led to at least 32 three pointers thrown up.
Three of the four games in the Series have landed the Over, although one needed Overtime to hit the mark. Both teams could find an improvement from the three point range and I think that may lead to a high-scoring outing in this one.
Trying to pick a winner in this Series is far from easy with Oklahoma City having the momentum off two wins, but the Houston Rockets feeling they blew chances to secure the victory in both too.
Instead I am looking for the two teams to continue to push the tempo and look for plenty of three point shooting to be on display.
If the teams are a little better than they have been of late, this should be a total they can combine to get the better of and I like the total to be surpassed.
The Pick :
Houston Rockets 116-112 Oklahoma City Thunder
FIXED ODDS BETTING TIP :