Thunder Win Nail-biter

(AP Photo/Eric Kayne)

Oklahoma City came on on fire, shooting 57.1% in the first quarter, jumping out to a 17-10 lead early in the quarter. However, Houston was not to be out done after last night’s beating, they fought back to make it 23-21 after the end of the first quarter.

Nazr Mohammed tried to keep the Thunder afloat in the second quarter, scoring 11 first half points, but the Rockets pushed out to a small 38-33 lead midway through the second quarter. That’s when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant came in and helped push the Thunder from a five point deficit to a two point lead at halftime at 48-46.

Most of the third quarter was all about the Rockets. Rockets came out shooting lights out. Oklahoma City, turned the ball over and didn’t do well for most of the quarter until Russell Westbrook had enough. Russell Westbrook scored 10 points in the third quarter and helped the Thunder close out the quarter on a 12-0 run to tie it after three quarters.

That’s when the two-time scoring champion, Durant, took over late in the fourth. Rockets had gotten down by five points, and then fought back. Durant then traded buckets with the Rockets. Durant finished with 13 points for the quarter. Not to be done before he hit the biggest shot of the night. With 13.2 seconds left. KD caught a quick pass from Westbrook and hit a jumper, giving the Thunder a 96-95 lead. After missing a three and going out of bounds off Kendrick Perkins, Goran Dragic threw the ball out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left to preserve the Thunder’s 98-95 victory. Oklahoma City’s second straight win improves them to 7-2 overall, while the Rockets drop to 2-6.

Post game grades

Kevin Martin: B+
Martin was struggling all night. he was 4-16 for 16 points tonight. He was 2-4 from three point range and 6-6 from the free throw line. For the most part, I felt the Thunder shut down one of the better scorers in the league. Only real knock I have on this overall is that he got to the line six times. He’s money from the stripe.

Three Point Shooting: D+
If Oklahoma City was going to put this game away, they’d have to shoot the three well. They did not, 7-21 for 33.3%. Durant was 2-8 on the night from behind the arc. James Harden and Daequan Cook finished 4-9 from the three point range. So, honestly, this was KD and Westbrook holding the shooting down. (Combined 3-10)

Minutes: B
If you look at the minutes, the first thing you see is only four players played more than 30 minutes tonight. KD and Westbrook played over 35 minutes. Nick Collison played 30, and Harden played 31. Only five players played over 20 minutes. So, Brooks was great in managing the minutes.

Thoughts from the game

  • First and foremost, Eric Maynor. Look like he may have had a severe knee injury. I’m hoping it is at the worst just an hyperextension. Wouldn’t surprise me after watching the replay over and over if it was something more. Thoughts go out to the Maynor camp tonight.
  • What happened to the Thunder rebounding? they came out on fire, out rebounding the Rockets 16-1. Rockets dominated the rest of the game from that point forward, winning the battle 40-28. Including the Rockets had 12 offensive rebounds. Still a big glaring weakness.
  • How well did Russell Westbrook play? He had 25 points on 10-20 shooting. Including 4-4 from the free throw line and only three turnovers. He really just willed the team in the third quarter. They could have just rolled over and let the Rockets take it at home, but nope. Honey badger fought. I say just three turnovers because He was averaging 6.4 turnovers his first four games of the season. Big turn around.
  • Nazr Mohammed set a scoring record with the Thunder. He had 17 points in the ball game, 11 in the first half. Mohammed’s previous high scoring game was 15 last year versus Denver.
  • Turnover bug was back tonight. OKC had 16 of them. They had nine at halftime. A lot of is aggression, which is great. A lot of the turnovers, even though it’s being aggressive, they’re stupid turnovers.
  • How clutch is Kevin Durant? From Buzzer beaters to winning shots with 13 seconds left to go. Great players can turn it on in the fourth quarter. 5-7, 1-2 from three-point, 2-2 from the line. KD was great.
  • Oklahoma City rebounded well overall, they did out rebound Houston 44-41. OKC had six players with 6 or more rebounds.
  • Another way Houston stayed in this game? Fast break points. Houston limited OKC to just six fast break points. While the Rockets had 19.
  • Also the Rockets had 22 points 16 Thunder turnovers. OKC had 15 on 13 Rocket turnovers.
  • Where was Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins? Box score says they played.. but did they really? Hard to tell.

San Antonio just won their game vs. Denver 121-117. They’ll be arriving in OKC sometime in the middle of the night. Tip off is at 6 p.m. tomorrow night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Be there. Be loud.

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