While the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder entered the 2022-23 season as young, rebuilding rivals, the Thunder have left the Rockets in the dust as they chase down a potential berth in the Western Conference’s play-in tournament for the playoffs.
Yet, for whatever reason, Oklahoma City’s superior overall play hasn’t extended to the individual matchups. Dating back to the 2021-22 season, Houston has won five of the last six meetings.
That stretch includes Wednesday night, when the Rockets rode another strong game by veteran guard Eric Gordon to a six-point win over the Thunder. On Saturday, however, Gordon isn’t likely to be available due to planned maintenance on the second half of a back-to-back. (Gordon played in Friday’s home loss to Toronto.)
On the other side, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the host Thunder should be far more rested, having not played since their unexpected loss three nights earlier. If they were overlooking the lowly Rockets in that one, it appears unlikely to happen again in a quick rematch.
When and How to Watch
Date: Saturday, Feb. 4
Time: 7 p.m. Central
TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest, NBA League Pass
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free in Houston markets)
Probable starting lineups
Houston Rockets (13-38)
Oklahoma City Thunder (24-27)
Projected lineups are based on each team’s prior game, with the exception of Green for Gordon (maintenance). Stephen Silas indicated Friday that Green’s return was a strong possibility for Houston.
Houston’s injury report won’t be issued until a few hours before tipoff, owing to the back-to-back. On Friday, the Rockets listed Kevin Porter Jr. (left foot contusion) and Jalen Green (right calf contusion) as out versus the Raptors, while Jabari Smith Jr. was questionable (right hip pointer). Smith ultimately played, so he appears good to go.
Earlier in the week, Silas had indicated that veterans Eric Gordon and Jae’Sean Tate were each likely to miss half of this weekend’s back-to-back. Since both players were in action Friday, that would seem to make Saturday a potential rest game in Oklahoma City.