Houston hopefully is looking past tonight's game because that may be the only way of keeping it close. The Thunder look to put opening night behind them against the Rockets, already 2-0 this season and playing like a top 3 or 4 team in the NBA.
Kevin Durant needs to step up after a disappointing performance against the Bucks. He will be on display all year, the reigning Rookie of the Year forced to carry the young OKC squad. A sophomore slump is not out of the question, but a nice effort versus Houston will stop all of that talk.
The problem is that the Rockets have many weapons and added more over the summer. Ron Artest joined the team and immediately provided a third option to go with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady in the scoring department. Artest also gives them a defensive presence, something the Thunder will see first-hand tonight.
Making its first regular season road trip, Oklahoma City will have its hands full in the paint as well. Yao is a force and averaging over twenty points a game. The Thunder struggled with Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut, and Yao is a bigger test. Chris Wilcox was impressive off the bench in the first game, and he will be called upon to at least slow down the Rockets big man.
McGrady isn't fully recovered from off-season knee surgery, but he still is a dangerous threat. The trio for Houston will be too much to overcome for OKC, even though the Thunder's only win of the preseason came at the Rockets' expense.