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The final Saturday night prime time game of the regular season will feature the Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the Houston Rockets on ABC. The Rockets, of course, are in first place in the Western Conference, and have long since clinched the best record in the league. But the Thunder, on the other hand, are suddenly fighting for their playoff lives in seventh place in the West.
Houston (64-15) are playing out the string, having accomplished all their goals of winning the division title and securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs as the owners of the NBA’s best record.
The Rockets can set a franchise record for consecutive home wins with a victory in this game that would be their 21st straight at Toyota Center. Houston matched the record established by the 1985/86 team who opened 20-0 at The Summit with a 96-94 win Thursday night as Chris Paul hit a buzzer-beater on a drive to the basket after the Rockets squandered a 17-point lead in the final 3:56.
Paul finished with 27 points while James Harden added 24 for the Rockets, who hit 13 3-pointers to offset being outscored 54-32 in the paint. Houston have averaged 111.8 points during their 20-game run at home, outscoring opponents by 14.1 points per game, and recorded nine double-digit wins.
Tonight marks Houston’s last regular season home game of the 2017-18 season. They will not return to the friendly confines of the Toyota Center until April 14 or 15 when they host Game 1 of their first round series against the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
One of their possible opponents in that first round series is the same team they faced in the first round last season, whom Houston will be playing tonight.