Oklahoma City Notches First Victory Of 2012 With Win Against Houston
Grant Belcher, News9.com
OKLAHOMA CITY – A big win, a dose of confidence and plenty of rest for the starters.
Not a bad way for the Thunder to enter their first of the NBA's dreaded back-to-back-to-back stretches.
Oklahoma City got the job done with a 109-94 win against the Houston Rockets on Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The win snapped a brief two-game losing streak for the Thunder and gave the team its first win of 2012.
OKC's starters played limited minutes in the game, but for good reason. The Thunder will travel to Houston for a quick rematch on Saturday, followed by a game at home against San Antonio on Sunday. That three game stretch will couple with the following two to make five games in six days.
Durant played 27 minutes in the game and scored an efficient 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He added seven rebounds and is shooting better than 50 percent on the year.
James Harden flirted with his career high in a 23-point performance and continued his frontrunner campaign for Sixth Man of the Year.
Russell Westbrook added 16 points for Oklahoma City and Serge Ibaka was the other OKC player in double figures with 11.
The Thunder came out of the gate strong and never looked back, getting the lead up to 18-10 just more than seven minutes into the game.
With 7:28 remaining in the second quarter, the Thunder had already built their lead to 21 points (46-25) on a jumper from Nick Collison.
OKC would lead by as many 25 points in a game that was never really in question from the early minutes on.
The Thunder continued their hot shooting with a 52.5-percent performance as a team from the floor.
Houston guard Kyle Lowry, who had been averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Rockets, sat out of the game with a bruised right foot. He will likely be a gametime decision on Saturday.
Kevin Martin and Terrence Williams led the Rockets with 13 points apiece.
The teams will have little time to dwell on their performances as they will hop on the planes to face each other at 7 p.m. again Saturday, this time with Houston hosting.