After a tough double-header in LA, the Houston Rockets schedule during the compressed regular season gets no easier, as they have a rare home-and-home back-to-back on Friday and Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, widely seen as the favorite to make it out of the West.
The Thunder's high-scoring trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook will test the Rockets defense, which has struggled mightily at the start of the season, giving up 101.8 points per game, 28th worst in the NBA.
However, while Oklahoma City is one of the most athletic teams in the NBA, their defense hasn't coalesced as fast as many people assumed, which leaves interesting match-ups for Houston's top scorers, with Kyle Lowry battling Westbrook, Kevin Martin facing Thabo Sefolosha, one of the NBA's premier perimeter stoppers and Luis Scola going toe-to-toe with Serge Ibaka.
Houston has gone 0-4 in road games against 2011 playoff teams this season, and if they want to make the leap as a franchise, a game at the Thunder's notoriously difficult Chesapeake Stadium is a good chance to make a statement.
The 7:00 PM game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Houston.