Regular Season Recap: Rockets vs Thunder

ROCKETS 94

THUNDER 109
1 Three-pointers made by Serge Ibaka. His shot at the first-half buzzer gave the Thunder a 58-41 lead. It was Ibaka’s second 3-point basket of his career on four attempts.

6 Victories by the Thunder in eight games.

10 Thunder players to score at least three points.

13 Thunder players who logged minutes.

27 Thunder’s biggest lead.

52.5 Shooting percentage by the Thunder.

54 Points in the paint by the Thunder.

86 Points the Thunder had after three quarters.



The Thunder and the Rockets meet again Saturday night in Houston. Game time is 7 p.m. and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

For the Thunder, it is the second game in a back-to-back-to-back stretch. The Thunder returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday for a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

“We have enough talent on this team to handle what the schedule gives us,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said.

GAME IN REVIEW

RECAP:
The Thunder secured more than a victory Friday night. It also was able to rest its starters, a benefit that will come into play over the next 48 hours as the Thunder wraps up its first back-to-back-to-back stretch of games.

Just minutes after defeating the Houston Rockets, 109-94, on Friday night, Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks let it be known that he expects a different game on Saturday when the two teams meet again in Houston.

“We did what we had to do tonight,” Brooks said.

“Now it’s time to move on to the next game. We play this team again tomorrow night. This game has no affect on tomorrow. … We know they’re going to come back tough on their home court.”

The Thunder scored 30 points in the first quarter and 28 in both the second and third periods to establish control. The early – and big – leads enabled Brooks to rest his starters and play all 13 players.

No starter logged more than the 27 minutes, 55 seconds played by Kevin Durant.

“I’m very pleased with how we played tonight, but I also understand we need to move on to the next one,” Brooks said.

TURNING POINT:
It came late in the first quarter, with the Thunder up 24-18 and the Rockets refusing to go away.

But consecutive baskets by Kevin Durant and Nick Collison and two free throws by James Harden in the final 1:44 of the quarter gave the Thunder a 30-20 lead. The Thunder wasn’t finished. It was only beginning what would become an 18-5 run.

Harden opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and just 3:22 into the period the Thunder was up 42-23 and firmly in control.

“We jumped on them pretty good,” Brooks would say after the game.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Nick Collison runs to the top of the key to set a screen for James Harden, who then breaks free to the basket and is fouled. Harden makes both free throws and the Thunder leads, 30-20. … Nazr Mohammed outworking two Rockets for an offensive rebound that leads to a Harden basket and 38-23 lead. … Harden going hard to his left, then right on a drive to the basket that leaves the Rockets’ Luis Scola lunging the wrong way. … Kevin Durant driving to the basket and ripping a under-handed pass to Kendrick Perkins for a monster dunk.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Durant grabbing a defensive rebound, pushing the ball up the court and sprinting through the Rockets defense for a beautiful finger-roll basket. … Durant, using a screen from Perkins to get around Chase Budinger, drives the baseline and does a 360 to spin away from Scola for a basket. … Harden and Collison working a perfect give-and-go that springs Collison to the basket, where he is fouled. … Mohammed tipping an offensive rebound to Daequan Cook, who immediately whips the ball to Eric Maynor for a 3 and 94-75 lead. … Collison cutting through the lane to catch a nice pass from Mohammed for a uncontested dunk. … Harden using a head fake to break past his defender and get to the rim for a 98-83 lead. … Reggie Jackson going behind his back to feed Collison with a bounce pass. The play ends with Jackson hitting a 3 in the corner.