Oklahoma City’s six-game winning streak was snapped Friday night by the Houston Rockets, 102-99. Russell Westbrook (27 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast) became the first player since Michael Jordan to record seven-consecutive triple-doubles, yet faltered in the clutch with multiple opportunities to put Oklahoma City ahead.
Overall, the Rockets played with greater pace and cohesion as they evened their season-series with OKC 1-1. James Harden finished just shy of his own triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. Meanwhile, eight Houston players finished with seven or more points as Eric Gordon (17) and Ryan Anderson (14) offered standout performances.
The Rockets, who shot a subpar 39% overall, and 26% from three, still managed to outscore the Thunder 33-21 beyond the arc. In a game that came down to the wire, these made three-pointers sealed OKC’s fate. Oklahoma City was out-rebounded 52-46 in the team’s first outing since a Monday win over Atlanta. Finally, Houston’s reserves outpaced Oklahoma City’s 44-24 in the scoring column.
While OKC flailed late, Steven Adams joined Russell Westbrook with an impressive 24-point (career-high) 10 rebound performance. In spite of these efforts, Oklahoma City lost a fifth contest by four-points of less.
Oklahoma City Thunder: the team that can beat anyone on any given night or lose to anyone on any given night. Always a rollercoaster in OKC.— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) December 10, 2016
To open the evening's revelries, Clint Capela singlehandedly put Houston ahead 7-0. However, the stable first-quarter production of Russell Westbrook (6 pts, 6 reb) and Steven Adams (8 pts, 4 reb) gradually thrust Oklahoma City within striking distance. As each team misfired from deep, the Rockets carried a tenuous 25-23 lead into quarter two.
Throughout the second, Houston began to find its offensive bearings. Overall, the Rockets connected on 13-of-23 attempts, and 3-of-7 from distance. For OKC, Adams (9 pts) and Westbrook (5 ast) again excelled, although the Thunder fell behind 54-49 at the half due to difficulties in adjusting to Houston's pace.
At intermission, Adams led all scorers with 17, as Westbrook (10 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast) laid the foundation for yet another triple-double performance.
For Houston, Eric Gordon (11 pts) captained a balanced first-half scoring attack that saw nine Rockets players garner at least two points. James Harden (8 pts, 7 ast, 6 reb) proffered a standout all-around effort of his own during the first twenty-four minutes of play.
As the third frame unfolded, Houston's unrelenting rim attack and three-point efficiency saw its lead expand. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City was taken from their gameplan as the Northwest Division leaders floundered -- 1-of-7-- from the arc, and struggled to secure rebounds.
The fourth period saw Oklahoma City overcome a nine-point deficit only to succumb in the waning moments. Patrick Beverly’s defensive stand against a visibly rushed Russell Westbrook highlighted a frustrating end-game stretch for the Thunder.
With the loss, Oklahoma City now sits at 14-9.
The Thunder next take the court Sunday night vs. the Boston Celtics.