The Thunder defeated the Rockets tonight 109-94 in a game that was by and large decided in the first 12 minutes of play. Jumping on the Rockets early with a wide array of post play and drives to the rim, the Thunder led by 10 at the end of the first quarter and by 16 at the half. From that point on, the Thunder simply needed to keep Houston surges in check. As a result, the Thunder walked away with a 15 point win and plenty of rest for their starters.
Kevin Durant led the way with 26 points and three assists against a single turnover in only 27 minutes of play. James Harden was the big #2 offensive force for the Thunder, tallying 23 points and three assists in running the second unit's offensive attack to perfection. Most importantly, the duo constantly kept pressure on the Houston defense, attacking the rim at will to get point blank shots and opportunities to kick the ball to open teammates for open shot attempts. As a result, the Thunder offense shot 52.5% for the game.
Aside from their greatly improved offensive flow, the Thunder were also able to do a much better job on the defensive boards. While the Rockets still accumulated 11 offensive rebounds by the time the game was over, six of those came in garbage time and did not play a material role in the game's outcome.
The Rockets' offensive attack, disorganized at times, was still led by Goran Dragic who had 10 points and 11 assists, and Kevin Martin led the Rockets in scoring with 13 points.
Both teams now head back to Houston for a rematch tomorrow night. The Thunder should have their confidence intact once more and the Rockets will be looking to even the score.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 26 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 11 points, 9 rebounds (3 offensive), 3 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal
Thunder Blunder: None
Thunder Plunder: Kevin Martin, 13 points, 5 rebounds