Game 7 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will be the 137th Game 7 in NBA history and second of the 2020 postseason. Of the previous 136, the higher seed has won 78.8% of the time (107-29).
There's obviously more to these two franchises than just this competitive playoff series. The Thunder and Rockets were involved in a trade back in July 2019, that essentially traded superstar for superstar in Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.
Along with Paul, Oklahoma City received Houston's first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 (both top-four protected), as well as the rights to two pick swaps in 2021 and 2025.
Led by Paul, the Thunder have been surprising everybody with their great play. At the beginning of the year, Oklahoma City only had a 0.2% chance to make the postseason, but now as the fifth seed in the Western Conference, it has a chance to pull off an upset.
If the Thunder win Game 7, it would be only the 28th time out of a possible 394 scenarios in NBA history that the team trailing 0-2 in the series advanced to the next round.
In the two previous Game 7s that these franchises suited up against each other, the Thunder (then the Seattle SuperSonics) won the Conference Semifinals series in 1993 while the Rockets won the Conference Semifinals series in 1997.
That said, let's take a quick look at how both franchises have fared in Game 7s in the past:
Rockets history in Game 7s
- This will be the Rockets' 12th Game 7 in franchise history. They have gone 6-5 in those previous winner-takes-all contests.
- Their most recent Game 7 was at home against the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. The Rockets lost that game, 101-92, after missing an NBA record 27 consecutive 3-pointers.
- The Rockets are one of only two teams in NBA history to cap off a 3-1 series comeback with a Game 7 victory twice, in 1995 and 2015.
- James Harden is the only player from the 2015 Rockets squad that came back from a 3-1 deficit still with the franchise.
- Harden (3), Westbrook (3), Austin Rivers (3), DeMarre Carroll (3), Jeff Green (2), P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Tyson Chandler have each appeared in at least one Game 7.
- This is the fourth Game 7 for head coach Mike D'Antoni, who is 2-1 all time in such games.
History of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7s
- In their shared history with the Seattle SuperSonics, the Thunder have played in 10 previous Game 7s and hold a 6-4 record.
- Their most recent Game 7 was on the road against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals of the 2016 playoffs. They lost that game, 96-88. At the time, they became the 10th team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead.
- Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are the only players from that 2016 squad still with the franchise.
- Paul (6), Adams (2), Roberson (1) and Danilo Gallinari (1) have each appeared in at least one Game 7.
- This is the second Game 7 for head coach Billy Donovan. He is 0-1 in such games.
What to expect?
In the three games that the Rockets have won, they have dominated to win by an average margin of 23 points. On the flip side, when the game gets close, the Thunder have each of the three games.
Based on the first six games, it's all about which team can enforce its style and pace of play on the game. And anything can happen in a Game 7.
The Rockets and Thunder are set to face off in this winner-takes-all contest at 6:30 a.m. IST.
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