OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., Sporting Alert – Russell Westbrook will lead the Oklahoma City Thunder in a home Western Conference clash against the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
The game, which takes place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, is one of two games broadcasting nationally on ESPN and WatchESPN tonight at 8:00 pm ET.
Two other Western Conference teams, the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers will battle in the other game on the ESPN network – with tip-off time set for 10:30pm ET at STAPLES Center.
Who To Watch: Houston at Oklahoma City
The Thunder (14-8) have won six straight games since ending their three-game skid, thanks in large to energetic point Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook is averaging a triple-double this season with 31 points, 11.3 assists and 10.9 rebounds per game.
Several basketball experts and pundits have questioned whether the point guard’s craving for triple-doubles is benefiting the Thunder, and from the look of things, it certainly has.
Westbrook has recorded six straight triple-doubles, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history and those numbers have the Thunder rolling again, following a patchy period during early and mid-November.
Russell leads the NBA with 11 triple-doubles this campaign and has been backed heavily to collect his seventh straight and 12th overall for the term.
Houston Is No Pushers
James Harden has also been productive for the Rockets, with the guard averaging 28.5 points, 11.4 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game heading into Friday’s clash.
Houston (15-7) has won four straight and six of the last seven games, many thanks to Harden overall contributions and Eric Gordon recent streaky scoring.
Harden leads the league in assists, just ahead of Westbrook.
He is the fourth highest scorer in the NBA in the 2016-17 term and is scoring 25 percent of his team’s points.
Meanwhile, Gordon, who made a career-high and franchise-best eight 3-pointers in a 134-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, has scored at least 23 points four times in the last six contests.
On Friday, Westbrook and Harden will square off for the 12th time, with the Thunder star leading the head-to-head meeting 6-5 and has won three of the last four meetings.
More NBA Games
Elsewhere in the NBA on Friday night, defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers (15-5) will host the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena looking for their third straight win.
Early team reports are saying forward Kevin Love (back) and guard J.R. Smith (knee) are both questionable for the game, while forward Channing Frye will not play because of personal reasons.
Miami, which was restricted to just eight players because of injuries in the defeat to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, has lost three in a row.
In other games on the NBA schedule for Friday, Boston Celtics host the Toronto Raptors, the Hawks will travel to face to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Dallas Mavericks play host to the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves entertain Detroit Pistons and New York Knick make the trip to face the Sacramento Kings.
Friday, December 9
Orlando Charlotte 7:00 PM
Miami Cleveland 7:30 PM
Toronto Boston 7:30 PM
Atlanta Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Houston Oklahoma City 8:00 PM ESPN, WatchESPN
Detroit Minnesota 8:00 PM
Indiana Dallas 8:30 PM
Phoenix Los Angeles 10:30 PM ESPN, WatchESPN
New York Sacramento 10:30 PM