The Rockets are now tied 2–2 in their first-round series against the Thunder after dropping Game 4 on Monday, and there will be no additional help arriving on Wednesday.
Point guard Russell Westbrook is officially listed as out for the Game 5 matchup due to a right quad strain. Westbrook has not played in the 2020 postseason because of the quad injury, and he also missed Houston's final two seeding games in Orlando.
Westbrook's quad is reportedly progressing as he eyes a return to the floor. Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said Westbrook is "day-to-day" on Tuesday, and Westbrook was an active participant during warmups before Monday's loss to Oklahoma City.
"It's day-to-day. Not going to rule anything out or in," D'Antoni said on Tuesday regarding Westbrook's status for the rest of the series. "He’ll work out today, he’ll get on the court and see how he feels and they’ll make a determination. It’s close. We want to be a little careful. At the same time, we understand the urgency. They’ll make a good call on him and he’ll do the same.”
James Harden has largely picked up the slack with his fellow MVP out of the lineup, with the three-time scoring champion averaging 32 points per game vs. Oklahoma City. But the Rockets are desperately missing a secondary playmaker without Westbrook.
Eric Gordon finished with a minus-29 in Game 3 on Aug. 22, and while he shot better on Monday, Gordon still struggled down the stretch. Austin Rivers has also had a rough series, exacerbating Houston's current backcourt woes. With Westbrook out, Oklahoma City's three-guard lineup is feasting. The past two games have highlighted the Rockets' shortcomings without their second superstar.
Harden and the Rockets will look to seize a 3–2 lead without Westbrook on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. CT.