The Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Houston Rockets 112-107 on Christmas. The Thunder used their elite defense to limit the Rockets to 12-of-37 from three. Andre Roberson was the key to the Thunders win shutting down James Harden, getting four steals and two blocks for the Thunder.
Limiting Rockets three Makes
The Houston Rockets lead the NBA in three-point attempts at 43.1 per game. The Thunder limited the Rockets to shoot 37 threes at 32.4 percent the Rockets, only 12 makes tonight, are shooting at 46.9 percent on threes for the season ranking eighth in the league for three-point percentage. The Thunder did a terrific job on rotation and closing down on Rockets shooters. The Thunder had a season-high nine blocks which could have something to do with Rockets struggling from behind the arc.
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams were fantastic for the Thunder finishing with 31, 24, 20 and 15 points respectively. Westbrook started out slow for the Thunder shooting 0-of-6 in the first quarter but found his shot to finish 12-of-24 at 50 percent having a terrific third quarter going 5-of-5 to keep the Thunder in the game. George and Anthony were terrific all night George on both the offensive shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 57 percent from three and the defensive side, Anthony was fantastic shooting 8-of-12 at 66.7 percent from the field and also 2-of-4 from three at 50 percent. Adams was the tone-setter early for the Thunder offense going 6-of-8 at 75 percent in the first quarter for 12 points. Thunders star stepped up again and made big shots when they were needed this team is finding its self and taking some big names while they’re still searching.
Westbrook has been sensational since the first quarter.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 26, 2017
Roberson defense on Harden
Andre Roberson was fantastic for the Thunder guarding James Harden every time he was on the court. Harden is averaging 32.4 points on 45.6 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three against the Thunder Harden managed 29 points on 38.9 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three. Roberson was crucial for the Thunder to win this game and he came up big time for his team recording four steals and two blocks, one block coming at a huge moment in the fourth. Roberson has received some flack from the media and fans about his lack of productivity on offense but tonight you see why Billy Donovan is so keen on Roberson on this team he shut down Harden while also giving the Thunder eight points on 75 percent shooting.
Andre Roberson, back in, blocks Harden's step-back 3 and finishes a runout layup to put OKC up five with 21 seconds left.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 26, 2017
Fouling three-point shooters
The Thunder fouled a Rockets three-point shooter four times and sent them to the line 12 times with the Rockets making 11 of them. The Thunder have made this mistake consistently all season. They pressure the shooters well but get carried away and make contact with the shooter or the shooter takes advantage of the THunders pressure and falls into the Thunder defender which lets the opposition off the hook and gives them an easy three points at the free throw line or if the shooter is good gives them a four-point play. It is something Billy Donovan and the players have to address and fix.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!