Russell Westbrook and James Harden have been the triple-double kings this seasonOklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets
This week’s NBA Sundays match-up between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets will see the two front-runners for MVP, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, pitted against each other.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are currently sat in sixth place in the Western Conference which would set up a first round contest with their NBA Sundays opponents, the Houston Rockets.
This would mean that the two triple-double machines in Russell Westbrook and James Harden will go up against each other in what could be an MVP defining match-up.
The Thunder have relied heavily on Russell Westbrook on the offensive end this season and rightly so, with the star point guard leading the league in scoring with 31.2 points per game.
Oklahoma have also looked to other scoring options in recent games, with off-season acquisition Victor Oladipo taking some of the scoring load.
Oladipo has averaged 18.3 points per game in his last 10 games and may soon become that extra offensive weapon the Thunder need looking ahead to the postseason.
Both players are neck and neck in the race for the MVP title
The return of Enes Kanter has improved the Thunder’s playoff prospects by manning the center position and scoring 15.2 points per game in their last five games with the Thunder winning five of their last six games.
With Kanter on the floor, OKC will be able to continue their dominant rebounding which they currently lead the league in with 46.3 rebounds per game.
Player to watch:
Russell Westbrook – Russell Westbrook is having an unbelievable season and shows no signs of relenting.
Westbrook is leading the league in triple-doubles with 35 and is looking to be the first player since Oscar Robertson, in the 1961-62 season, to average a triple-double.
For casual fans, a triple-double is when a player tallies double figures (10 or more) in three different statistical categories.
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The two NBA stars were former team-mates at OKC
The Houston Rockets have taken two of three in the season series against the Oklahoma City Thunder to date, with five-time NBA All-Star James Harden filling the stat sheet with an average of 20 points, 12.3 assists and 8 rebounds in the previous three matchups.
Just like the Thunder’s Westbrook, Harden is having an MVP-caliber season. With his 19 triple doubles, he ranks 9th on the single season list behind the aforementioned Westbrook, Oscar Robertson, as well as NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlain.
The 2017 Three-Point Contest winner Eric Gordon has been a consistent perimeter threat for the Rockets this season, ranking 4th in the league in three-point field goals made with 220, trailing only Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and teammate James Harden.
Defensively, feisty point guard Patrick Beverley is one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA and has some history with Westbrook dating back to the 2013 NBA Playoffs, where contact between the two players led to Westbrook missing the remainder of the Playoffs.
The Thunder and the Rockets could met in the first round of the play-offs
Player to Watch:
James Harden – 27-year-old James Harden is having the best NBA season of his career so far and is leading the Rockets to the Playoffs with the second-best record in the league, behind the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. One of the best passers in the NBA, Harden is dishing out over 11 assists with 29.4 points and 8.1 rebounds on a nightly basis, making a clear case for himself as league MVP.
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NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2K17’ on BT Sport – a live NBA game every Sunday at 8.30pm. This week on 26 March the Houston Rockets will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on BT Sport 1.