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Paul George stresses emphasis on guarding 3-point line vs. hot-shooting Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder face the ultimate bar-measuring game, taking on the hot-shooting Houston Rockets on Tuesday, as part of TNT’s doubleheader.

The Thunder got the best of the Rockets before without Chris Paul, taking a 112-107 win in their first meeting, but this will be the first time Paul George sees them with their floor general on the court, a sight that has presented problems for Houston’s opponents, as the Rockets ride a 15-game win streak.

A key for every team is to limit their outside shooting, as they lead the league in that category, which has proved lethal to most.

“I think we did well enough defending the 3-point line,” said George when asked about their prior encounter, in which they limit the Rockets to 12-of-37 from beyond the arc. “We just can’t let them get the open and good looks. They make some here and there, so be it.”

The Rockets trotted a relatively short-stacked team with only eight players seeing the floor during their Christmas Day meeting, but they will now have many more options, including another elite playmaker in Paul.

Houston had all the momentum heading into this game, but if the Thunder manages to limit their outside barrage, it’s doubtful Clint Capela could do enough damage inside on his own to bring them afloat.

OKC is coming off a rough loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, who nabbed the No. 3 seed in the West, surpassing the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the race between third and eighth place separated by only two games.