How the OKC Thunder lost to the Houston Rockets

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 13, 2012

Add the Houston Rockets to the Thunder's growing list of head-shaking losses this season.

Despite having the best record in the Western Conference at 32-10, the Thunder has endured the following:

*A 105-102 loss at the 1-12 Washington Wizards.

*A 106-101 loss at the 9-16 Sacramento Kings.

*A 97-90 loss at the depleted Atlanta Hawks, who were without All-Stars Joe Johnson and Al Horford.

*A 96-90 loss last Friday at home to the 14-23 Cleveland Cavaliers, who were without their best rebounder in Anderson Varejao.

*On Tuesday night, the short-handed Rockets outscored the Thunder 13-1 in the final 2½ minutes to post a 104-103 victory and silence a sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Houston limped in with a 7-14 road record, having lost six of its last seven games overall and without the services of its starting backcourt of Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry.

In control with a 102-91 lead and 2:29 remaining, OKC closed out the game by seemingly doing everything wrong.

“That was a tough loss to take. There's no doubt,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said afterward. “We thought the game was in hand, but one thing about coach Mac's (Houston coach Kevin McHale's) teams, they're going to play. They play every possession. They've been down men all season and they keep fighting. That's what they do. That's what we do.

“Unfortunately, we didn't execute down the stretch at both ends of the floor. It's easy to point out the offensive end, but defensively we had major breakdowns, giving up drives, giving up open 3s and transition layups. You can't give up layups. That's a pride thing throughout the game, never give up a layup, and we gave up layups in the last couple minutes of the ballgame.”

Here's the blow-by-blow of the Rockets' knockout:

*With 3:04 left, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka slammed home a James Harden miss as the 24-second shot clock sounded. Officials initially ruled the shot good, making the score 104-91, but said the play would be reviewed at the next timeout.

*The Rockets got a reverse layup and a dunk in a span of 30 seconds to make it 104-95 before an angry Brooks called timeout with 1:51 remaining.



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