The Rockets, meanwhile, pulled within 95-94 on a putback layup by Kyle Lowry before taking the lead on a pair of foul shots by Kevin Martin with 23.6 left to play.
“At the end of games, those are great looks. Not good looks. Those are great looks,” Brooks said, altering his choice of words after a minute of reflection. “Our guys are going to make those shots more times than not.”
The Thunder fell to 22-7 after a defeat that certainly felt like foreign territory. Oklahoma City entered the night 5-1 in games decided by four points or less. The lone loss was a three-point stunner at Washington back on Jan. 18. Save that blemish, and a stinker down the stretch at Sacramento, the Thunder has been terrific this season in late-game situations.
“It happens like that sometimes,” said Westbrook, who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists. “It wasn't a bad loss. We fought. It wasn't like we gave up or anything.”
Durant scored a game-high 33 points with eight rebounds, and James Harden added 17 points off the bench.
Turnovers, though, were much more of a problem than too many jump shots. The Thunder finished with 22 turnovers, leading to 26 Rockets points. In the fourth quarter, the Thunder had six, but only two were in the final five minutes. Westbrook (six) and Durant (four), the All-Star duo who entered the night as the league's highest turnover tandem with 223 turnovers, combined for 10.
As a team, the Thunder entered Wednesday leading the league in turnovers at 16.89 per game. OKC is now up to 17.1.
“The thing is, what we've been trying to correct all season long and we must get better at, is the turnovers,” Brooks said. “I don't know how we do it. We're in every game and we give up the ball too many times.”