NBA Playoffs: Houston Rockets @ Oklahoma City Thunder Game 1

Game 1: Houston Rockets @ Oklahoma City Thunder Sun. April 21, 2013 9:30 p.m. ET

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to wrap up the top seed in the Western Conference this season after a brilliant run in the second half of the year. Kevin Durant and company were one of the most efficient teams in the NBA this season and will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the playoffs.

Few believe the Thunder can’t repeat as Western Conference champions allow the competition has only improved in comparison to last season. The Miami Heat may be the team to beat in Las Vegas odds as the NBA playoffs get under way, but

Right out of the gate, the Thunder will be tested in the postseason despite locking up the top seed and home-court advantage. Oklahoma City will go head-to-head against the Houston Rockets in the first round with a former player coming back to inflict some revenge on the Thunder.

James Harden was traded before the 2012-13 NBA season from the Thunder to the Rockets changing the whole dynamic of both teams. The trade was thought to be a game-changer for the Rockets and very questionable for the Thunder.

Ironically enough, the trade has worked out for both teams with the Rockets and Thunder both playoff bound. Although Oklahoma City was thought to take a step back without Harden, the team hasn’t missed a beat and actually improved in terms of playoff seeding. with Kevin Martin helping shoulder the load off the bench.

As for Houston, Harden has been the missing piece of the puzzle along with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. The Rockets have turned into a force to be reckoned with and may be able to give the Thunder a run for their money.

As of right now, the Thunder are heavily favored to come out on top in Game 1 at Chesapeake Energy Arena with a -10 point spread. Despite Oklahoma City probably getting the win, I believe the Rockets will make a game of it.

Prediction: Houston Rockets +10

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