Rockets 95, Thunder 90
Observations, news and notes from Saturday night’s game:
- Scott Brooks thought he played it right in the final minute when he didn’t foul Trevor Ariza to put him on the foul line, where he had made only 4-for-10 and two of seven in the fourth quarter.
- Brooks’ philosophy was that if the Thunder got a stop it’d have roughly 18 seconds to get a quick shot and make it a one possession game before resorting to fouls late.
- The problem was that the Thunder couldn’t get a stop because they couldn’t get a defensive rebound. Houston had eight offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and 17 for the game.
- That’s an amazing turnaround for a team that watched the Thunder take a a 17-7 advantage (5-0 on the offensive end) on the boards after the first period.
- Those first quarter numbers led to an 8-0 differential in second-chance points, but the Rockets lost that battle only 20-18 by the final buzzer.
- The final 4:22 of the first half is when you saw what all the fuss is about when it comes to Houston’s physical play. That’s when the Rockets woke up and the Thunder dug itself a hole too big to recover from. The Rockets had nine of their 12 second-quarter rebounds over that span and pulled down four of their five offensive boards in the stretch.
- Ariza absolutely annihilated the Thunder in the first half. He had 10 points in the first quarter, 13 points in the second quarter and was 9-for-13 from the field. Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden must have both been worn out from what Rodney Stuckey did to them a night earlier. Ariza finished with a game-high 31 points.
- The Thunder had no answer for Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola. Hayes had a game-high 15 rebounds with 13 points. Scola had 16 points and eight rebounds.
- Strangely, both teams’ leading scorers couldn’t throw it in the ocean. Aaron Brooks was 2-for-15. Kevin Durant was 6-for-18.
- Shane Battier and Ariza’s length was a big-time problem for Durant.
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