OKC Thunder: Rockets come to town at worst possible time for Thunder

The run-and-gun Rockets, a team OKC has toyed with this season, could now take advantage of the Thunder’s shortcomings and coast to a win.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 10, 2014
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photo - Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) goes up for a dunk as Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka (9) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) goes up for a dunk as Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka (9) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Houston has won 15 of 17 games since Jan. 28. The Rockets are averaging 112.5 points since the break. They lead the league in 3-pointers attempted per game (25.9) and free throw attempts per game (31.1).

None of that bodes well for a Thunder team that is 3-5 since the break and showing it can easily be sucked into playing and succumbing to its opponents’ style.

OKC has allowed a staggering 110.2 points per game and 47.4 percent shooting over the past eight games, while yielding an average of 10.6 made 3-pointers in that same span.

It’s the exact type of deficient defense the Rockets roster exploits.

Then there’s the matter of the Rockets remembering what the Thunder did to them in the first two meetings. In the first contest on Dec. 29, the Thunder won, without Westbrook, by 31 points. In the second game on Jan. 16, the Rockets scored just 19 second-half points after posting 73 in the first half. It was the largest disparity of points scored between halves in NBA history. Houston lost at home that night by 12.

“We’ll see (Tuesday) night,” Collison said. “We have another tough test, another team that’s going to play up-tempo with a lot of guys who are going to drive and kick, similar to the Lakers. We’ll see if we can play better.”

In case you’re wondering, Hamilton’s career-high is 19 points.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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