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  • Thunder center Kendrick Perkins will not play Wednesday in Houston after spraining his right knee in Tuesday’s practice. Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said Hasheem Thabeet will start in Perkins’ place. “We’ll evaluate [Perkins’ injury] tomorrow,” Brooks said. “[Thabeet] has to disrupt the game. … Obviously, we’re not going to him to have him score 15, 20 points. He’s going to have to defend, block and alter shots, get in the way of their penetrating players, and he has the ability to do that.”
  • The Thunder seems to know the correct formula for limiting the production of their former sixth man, James Harden. Oklahoma City has held the Rockets guard to only 27.3 percent (9-for-33) shooting from the field, five rebounds and four assists in two meetings this season. “They crowded the floor a lot and really have loaded up on him,” coach Kevin McHale said. “James has just got to understand they’re staying with him on the pick-and-roll a lot longer. They make [James] get off the ball.”
  • Rockets forward Marcus Morris is inactive despite no health issues, and McHale hinted the decision could be fueled by a possible trade. “Talk to [general manager] Daryl [Morey],” McHale said.
  • Oklahoma City (39-14) is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak in the regular season since April 2-6, 2012. The Thunder should have an excellent opportunity to resume its winning ways, considering it has handed Houston (29-26) its two largest margins of defeat this season. After trouncing Houston 120-98 on Nov. 28 in Oklahoma City, the Thunder routed the Rockets 124-94 on Dec. 29 at Toyota Center. Oklahoma City is 11-2 this season coming off a defeat.

Matt Miller

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