Deja Vu All Over Again: Thunder Crushes Harden, Rockets

Saturday, December 29th 2012, 11:09 pm
By: News 9

Second verse, same as the first.

The Thunder's second game against James Harden and Houston went a lot like their first one: a blowout laugher. Russell Westbrook's 28 points were accompanied nicely by Kevin Durant's 26 as Oklahoma City stomped the Rockets in Houston 124-94; an even bigger margin than the Thunder's 22-point win in OKC on Nov. 28.

Harden scored 25 points on 6-17 shooting to lead the Rockets, while Marcus Morris added 24 on 9-14 from the field.

Things were back-and-forth for most of the first half as Houston came out with an inspired effort, but the tide turned late in the second quarter. With just under four minutes remaining in the half, the Thunder held 52-50 advantage when Kevin Durant started to heat up. Durant's 11 points in the final minutes led the way as OKC finished the first half on a 16-0 run to take a 68-50 lead into the break.

Things never got any better for Houston as the Thunder outscored the Rockets in both the third and fourth quarters, allowing OKC to get some bench players some good playing time.

Nick Collison played 24 minutes, earning his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Hasheem Thabeet and Reggie Jackson each played 18 minutes, scoring two and eight points respectively. Jeremy Lamb also got some burn, hitting a three-pointer in his five minutes of action.

Nearly lost in the shuffle was Kevin Martin's return to Houston, and he gave his former fans a show. Martin was 5-8 from downtown en route to 19 points off the Thunder bench. He also snagged three rebounds and recorded a +15 in his 24 minutes.

OKC out-performed Houston in virtually every way possible. The Thunder shot 48 percent from the floor, 45 percent from behind the arc and 91 percent from the line. Houston shot just 40 percent overall, 27 percent from three and 74 percent from the charity stripe. The Thunder also out-rebounded the Rockets 53-36 while recording more assists, steals, blocks and fewer turnovers.

Next up for Oklahoma City (23-6) is a New Year's Eve date with the Phoenix Suns, while Houston (16-14) will look to rebound Monday against the Hawks.