Notebook: Rockets 107, Thunder 100



Posted May 2, 2013 1:43 AM

Randy Renner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: No team in NBA history has ever been able to climb out of an 0-3 hole to win a seven game series and the Houston Rockets are still a long way from rewriting the history books but they took a big step toward that goal with a 107-100 win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City. OKC still leads the series 3-2 and can close it out with a win Friday in Houston, but all the momentum appears to be with the Rockets now after winning two straight.

Former Thunder sixth man James Harden blistered his old teammates from beyond the arc where he was 7-for-9 and finished with 31 points and eight rebounds. Harden was sick this morning and did not participate in the Rockets shoot around so he could stay in his hotel room to rest up. All five Rockets starters got into double figures, center Omer Asik had 21 points and 11 rebounds, 13 of those points came at the free throw line in critical moments in the fourth quarter. Francisco Garcia added 18 points and made five 3-pointers. Rookie Patrick Beverley, booed every time he touched the ball by the Thunder crowd, scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

Nothing went right for Oklahoma City. The offense was anemic and the defense was ineffective. Kevin Durant had another big night with 36 points while also handing out seven assists and grabbing seven rebounds but he had very little help for much of the game. In fact until late in the third quarter Durant was the only Thunder player in double figures. Then in the fourth quarter when some of his teammates started to score, Durant came up empty, going 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson, forced into the starting role with the knee injury to Russell Westbrook, scored 20 points (11 in the fourth quarter) and Serge Ibaka added 14 and nine rebounds.

Houston's defense held the Thunder to just 41.9 percent shooting. OKC missed 25 3s and eight free throws.

QUOTABLE: "Well the good news is we're up 3-2. They've won the last two games and we won the first three. It wasn't the way we wanted to start the game but they played lights out. We have to be able to match up in transition we have to do a better job of that."
-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks

QUOTABLE II: "I tried to give it all I had, I slept all day so I'd have enough energy. I means a lot, it was win or go home. It's a gutsy win for us and now we have an opportunity at home in Game 6 and we're gonna try to take advantage of it."
-- James Harden

THE STAT: Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin, acquired from Houston in the Harden trade, had one of his worst nights as a pro scoring just three points on 1-for-10 shooting (0-for-5 on 3s).

TURNING POINT: The Rockets led by as many as 16 points and every time the Thunder tried to make a run the Rockets answered it with a flurry of their own. A 37-point third quarter for Houston kept the game comfortable for the visitors. In the fourth quarter when the Thunder got the margin down to single digits Brooks started fouling Asik (a 58.8 percent free-throw shooter in this series) but Asik came through and finished 13-for-18 at the stripe.

QUOTABLE III: "He did a great job hitting his free throws, Scotty went with the, what would that be called 'hack-a-Turk' and he [Asik] was great. With this group they fight, they're battlers. I'm really proud of these guys."
-- Rockets coach Kevin McHale

HOT: Harden was 4-for-5 (3-for-3 on 3s) for 11 points in the first quarter...Durant was 6-for-11 (18 points) in the opening half...OKC had 10 blocked shots in the first half...Harden hit his first seven 3-pointers.

NOT: Martin was 0-for-6 (0-for-4 on 3s) through the first 19 minutes of the game...OKC was 1-for-12 (8.3 percent) on 3-pointers in the first half and 16-for-39 (41 percent) overall...The Thunder finished just 8- for-33 (24.2 percent) on 3-pointers.

INSIDE THE ARENA: The 110th consecutive sell-out inside Chesapeake Energy Arena welcomed Beverley with boos when he was introduced and every time he touched the ball during the game. Westbrook was lost for the rest of the season to a knee injury when Beverley crashed into him while going for a steal in Game 2. Westbrook was at the game tonight and received a standing ovation when he was shown on the arena video board watching the game from a luxury suite.

GOOD MOVE: McHale again started Garcia at forward, mostly for his defensive ability in guarding Durant but Garcia had a big first half on offense for Houston scoring 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting (4-for-8 on 3s).

BAD MOVE: In an interesting twist Jackson ran up on Beverley to go for a steal just as Beverley was trying to call timeout. Beverley threw an elbow at Jackson right in front of official Bill Spooner, who hit Beverley with a technical foul.

BAD MOVE, TOO: The Thunder did not come out with the defensive intensity you'd think they'd have in a close-out game at home. OKC allowed the Rockets to score 30 points and shoot 54.5 percent in the first quarter.

QUOTABLE IV: "We have to forget about this, we have a quick turnaround and we have to be able to bring more energy on defense. We can't give em confidence to start the game."
-- Kevin Durant

NOTABLE: Rockets forward Carlos Delfino did not return from the locker room in the second half after suffering an injury to his left foot. He's being listed as day-to-day.

UP NEXT: Game 6, Friday @ Houston, Game 7 (if necessary) Sunday @ Oklahoma City.