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Oklahoma City Thunder rolls to 124-94 win over Rockets

Russell Westbrook scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 26 as the Oklahoma City Thunder built a big lead in the second quarter and rolled to a 124-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 29, 2012

—For 20 minutes Saturday night, the Thunder seemed to be sleepwalking.

The defense was dreadful. The offensive was all over the place.

The Thunder just didn't seem interested in performing its principles and instead played Houston's preferred pace.

But when Oklahoma City woke up, boy, was it a thing of beauty.

A four-minute surge was all it took for the Thunder to run the Rockets out of their own gym and secure a 124-94 victory inside the Toyota Center.

Oklahoma City outscored Houston 16-0 in the final four minutes of the second quarter, opening an 18-point halftime lead that was too large for the Rockets to mount anything that looked remotely close to a comeback.

“The first quarter, we were just going back and forth until one team decided to play defense,” said Russell Westbrook. “And that was us.”

The Thunder went on to lead by as many as 34 points before recording its largest road win since 2009. The strong finish, in light of a handful of sloppy ones this season, was worth appreciating on its own. Houston never got closer than 13 in the second half and trailed by at least 20 throughout the final 20 minutes.

“It's important to keep building on your habits,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “You can't play the scoreboard. It's easier said than done … I thought our guys did a good job closing out the game. We held them under 40 percent and that's really good against the Rockets.”

But back to those final four minutes of the second quarter.

The Thunder forced the Rockets into turning it over five times while hounding Houston into missing all six of its shots over that span. OKC capitalized by turning those five turnovers into nine points, going 5-for-6 in that same four-minute stretch.

“Just the activity with our hands,” Brooks said. “We were using our length, we were getting into the passing lanes, we were contesting every pass and getting into the basketball. And that's what happens. When you put a player under duress you have a chance to turn it over. If you don't have any pressure on them, there's no chance to turn them over.”

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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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