It’s not easy to match the urgency of a desperate team, and the Rockets were the definition of that on Sunday afternoon as Houston helped its playoff chances with a 118-110 win over the Thunder.
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Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook finished off a layup to put the Thunder up five points with 5:50 left, but that happened to be the last positive sequence in the game for OKC as the Thunder failed to capitalize down the final stretch yet again.
K.J. McDaniels’ reverse circus layup on the next Houston possession seemed to spark an H-Town revival, and the Rockets took the lead just over a minute later after Patrick Beverley faked out Westbrook by pretending to pass right to a teammate, but opted to keep it instead and sunk the wide open 3-pointer.
While the Rockets’ offense was thriving, the hometown team was dialing in on defense as well. With the Thunder trailing by six points, Kevin Durant attempted to make a play for his team, but instead it was his former comrade, James Harden, who forced Durant’s fifth turnover of the game and then heaved the ball to a wide open Beverley on the other end for an easy bucket to put the Rockets up 112-104.
A couple of bad misses by KD, Rockets up 106-102, Russ 2assists away from triple-double #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) April 3, 2016
A couple of bad misses by KD, Rockets up 106-102, Russ 2assists away from triple-double #News9Thunder
In all, Houston went on a 15-to-2 run down the stretch while limiting OKC to only one field goal throughout that five and a half minute span.
#Thunder O too often comes up woefully inept in late game w allegedly 2 of best 4 players on planet & deserved 6th man Kanter. @news9— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) April 3, 2016
#Thunder O too often comes up woefully inept in late game w allegedly 2 of best 4 players on planet & deserved 6th man Kanter. @news9
Harden scored a game-high 41 points while dishing out nine assists. He had scoring help from both Trevor Ariza (18) and Beverley (12).
Durant scored 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Westbrook nearly tallied a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Enes Kanter added 16 points and six rebounds, but the big man struggled on the defensive end and was pushed around in the post for most of the game.Only three Thunder players scored in double digits, while Serge Ibaka didn't really let his presence be known except for a brief spurt in the fourth quarter before Houston went on its run.
Durant and Westbrook combined for 14 of OKC’s 19 turnovers while Houston (38-39) only committed nine as a team.
The Thunder (53-24) will continue its road trip on Tuesday when they take on the Nuggets in Denver at 8 p.m.
Didn't expect the best game on Final Four trip to be #Thunder at Rockets. @news9— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) April 3, 2016
Didn't expect the best game on Final Four trip to be #Thunder at Rockets. @news9