Tonight in the NBA: Harden, Rockets take on Thunder

Tonight in the NBA: Harden, Rockets take on Thunder
April 21, 2013, 1:45 pm
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The NBA Playoffs started last night, featuring two games from the East and two games from the West (see NBA Wrap).

Here's a look at today's slate:

Rockets at Thunder, 9:30 p.m.

The top-seeded Thunder will take on the eight-place Rockets in a showdown in Oklahoma City.

OKC has the 2-1 season-series lead over the Rockets, and home-court advantage for the playoffs. Yet that may play into the Rockets' favor, as they have a player familiar with Chesapeake Energy Arena.

James Harden, Houston’s current guard, played his first three seasons with the Thunder. Harden averaged 25.9 points and 5.8 assists per game this year and dropped 46 against OKC in the Rockets' only win against the Thunder this season.

The Thunder will be featuring the second-best point scorer in the NBA this season, Kevin Durant. Durant averaged 28.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, to go along with Russell Westbrook’s 23.2 points and 7.4 assists.

Lakers at Spurs, 3:30 p.m.

The No. 7 Lakers will visit the No. 2 Spurs for their first matchup of the postseason.

In their regular season three-game series, the Spurs came away the 2-1 victors. San Antonio won the first two games, outscoring the Lakers 192-187, before Los Angeles won the third contest 91-86.

The Spurs will have starting point guard Tony Parker, who is battling a leg injury, available today. Parker averaged 20.3 points and 7.6 assists per game this season. San Antonio however, will be without shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who is day-to-day with a leg injury. Ginobili averaged 11.8 points and 4.6 assists per game.

The Lakers will have to go the entire postseason without superstar Kobe Bryant. Bryant, who averaged 27.3 points six assists per game this season, tore his Achilles April 12. Luckily they will be expecting Steve Nash to start. Nash missed the final eight games because of a hamstring/hip injury.

Bucks at Heat, 7 p.m.

The No. 8 Bucks will visit the No. 1 Heat in a game heavily favored for Miami.

The Bucks could only manage one win in the regular-season series against Miami, which took three of four games. In Milwaukee’s only win against the Heat, guard Brandon Jennings went off for a game-high 25 points.

The Heat, who were able to rest their starters throughout April, will not be dealing with any injuries. This bodes well for Miami, led by possible MVP LeBron James, who averaged 26.8 points, 8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game.

Milwaukee will most likely have center Larry Sanders, who has been battling back injuries all season, back in the lineup. Sanders averaged 2.83 blocks per game,  which was second-best in the league behind Serge Ibaka’s 3.03.

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