Heading into the season, this early matchup between the Rockets and Thunder would have been seen as a showdown involving two teams hoping to contend with the Warriors in the West. But after the first few weeks of action, it's clear that neither squad is at that level -- or at least just yet.
Injuries and suspensions have played a role in the various struggles, but still, neither Houston nor OKC looks capable of coming close to challenge for the Western Conference crown.
How to watch Rockets at Thunder
- Date: Thursday, Nov. 8
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena -- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- TV: TNT
- Streaming: fuboTV (free trial - NBA League Pass add-on available)
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Odds: Rockets -4.5
Odds and analysis
Check Sportsline's NBA pick sheet for all your daily odds.
Rockets: The Rockets made a number of moves in the offseason, essentially completely revamping their team outside of James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon. The results have not been good -- especially on the defensive end. Which is why they've decided to bring back defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik to the coaching staff. He hasn't completely rejoined the team yet, but that should help. Even without him, they've started to turn things around, winning their last three games.
Thunder: The Thunder haven't gotten off to the worst start of all time, but it hasn't been the first few weeks of the season they were expecting after re-signing Paul George in the offseason. Now, they're without Russell Westbrook for a while after he suffered a nasty-looking ankle sprain earlier in the week against the Pelicans. Already without Andre Roberson, it will be interesting to see if they can manage to keep up their recent winning ways without Westbrook in the lineup.
Game prediction, pick
The Rockets should have too much talent in this matchup, especially if Westbrook is still out. Give me the Rockets to both win straight up and cover.