With a week-long home-stand to immediately precede the All-Star break coming up, the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to be careful not to overlook the Houston Rockets when they visit Houston Wednesday night.
The Rockets have turned around their seasons since falling to 2-6 after losing back-to-back games to Oklahoma City in early January, going 14-7 and moving up to the No. 7 slot in the tightly packed Western Conference playoff race.
They've been fueled by the play of PG Kyle Lowry, who narrowly missed the All-Star Game this year, as he's averaged 15 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in 26 games this season.
The Thunder have defensive answers for Houston's other two offensive threats, SG Kevin Martin and PF Luis Scola, who have played well despite being nearly shipped out of town as part of the cancelled three-way deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the LA Lakers.
The Rockets, meanwhile, have struggled with long, athletic wings like Kevin Durant this year, as they start a 6'10 rookie from Florida, Chandler Parsons, at the small forward position.
In their loss Tuesday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, the last of a brutal six-game road trip, Memphis SF Rudy Gay took over the game, putting up a 20/8/3 stat-line.
The 7:00 PM game will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Oklahoma.