If you were looking for quality basketball on Sunday night, hopefully you weren't searching for it at The Peake.
There was nothing of quality to be found in the latest tilt between Houston and Oklahoma City, particularly for the Thunder, which came out on the short side of a close game once again, falling to the Rockets, 69-65.
This game should have been rated R so as not to give underage children the wrong impression of basketball. Neither team managed to shoot 30 percent—OKC shot 29.4 percent and Houston shot 28.8 percent—and Houston's 69 points were the lowest point total for a winning team since 2005.
The struggles go without saying, but the Thunder didn't take a lead in this one until a Lance Thomas (15 points) jumper made the score 51-49 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter. From there, it was back and forth until James Harden hit a 3-pointer with a minute remaining to give Houston a 68-65 lead and the game.
Reggie Jackson (15 points) had a chance to tie, but hoisted an ill-advised 3-pointer early in the shot clock, giving the ball back to Houston.
While the game itself was ugly, there was no shortage of action. After all, these are two teams that don't like each other and Houston employs OKC public enemies No. 1, 2 and 3 in Patrick Beverley, Harden and Dwight Howard.
Even without Russell Westbrook on the floor, there was plenty of yapping from both benches and a near fracas in the fourth quarter that had Beverley nearly head-butting an official and Thunder coach Scott Brooks nearly coming unglued as he left the sidelines and ended up in the middle of the confrontation.
After a lot of yelling, pushing and posturizing, all that resulted was a technical foul on Sebastian Telfair, who instigated the whole situation by giving Beverley a shove.
The Thunder played their hearts out on the defensive end, holding an explosive Houston team that was fully healthy to its worst offensive performance of the season. OKC blocked 15 shots, including a franchise-record 11 in the first half alone. Steven Adams had a career-high six, all in the first half.
Houston made the Thunder pay by grabbing 22 offensive rebounds which turned into 28 second-chance points and 12 more shots than the Thunder. Those offensive rebounds proved to be the difference in a game the Thunder had plenty of opportunities to win.