Oklahoma City Thunder notebook: Thunder dominated Rockets, but didn't get sweep

The Thunder led Houston by at least 14 points in all three regular-season games, but the Rockets still managed one victory.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: April 19, 2013

The Thunder led Houston by at least 14 points in all three regular-season games, but the Rockets still managed one victory.

*At 2 a.m. on Jan. 28, a 40-person travel party of Houston players, coaches and front-office members landed in Minneapolis on game day to attend the funeral of coach Kevin McHale's 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, who died from complications of lupus. The team then flew to OKC, arrived at The Peake roughly 4½ hours before tip and never checked into a hotel. All this occurred after playing at home against Toronto the previous night.

The Thunder won handily 120-98 as Kevin Durant had 37 points and Serge Ibaka added 23 points, nine rebounds and six blocks.

Former OKC sixth man James Harden missed his first nine field-goal attempts, 12 of his first 13 and had six shots blocked. Harden hit a two meaningless baskets in the fourth quarter to finish 3 for 16 from the floor. The Rockets were without starter Chandler Parsons (shoulder) and reserve Carlos Delfino (groin).

*On Dec. 29, the Thunder posted a 124-94 victory at Toyota Center, where Houston shot just 39.8 percent from the field. OKC led by as many as 34 and all five Thunder starters sat the entire fourth quarter.

*The Feb. 20 contest in Houston was OKC's lone setback. The Thunder led 107-93 with just seven minutes remaining, but 4½ minutes later, the score was tied at 111 after a step-back 3-pointer from Harden. Another Harden basket 1:20 left gave the Rockets a 116-111 lead and completed a 23-4 run.

Houston was hot early (leading 29-17 nine minutes into the game), got hot late, made 15 3-pointers and scored 32 points off 23 OKC turnovers. Harden had a career-high 46 points and shot 14 for 19 from the field, including 7 for 8 from 3-point range.

All that, yet the Rockets managed to win by just three (122-119) on a night when an overpassing Durant managed his first career triple-double, but shot just 4 for 13 and committed five turnovers.

DRAFT DODGERS

The Thunder received a bit of good news on this year's NBA Draft, albeit not a whole lot.

Ties in the draft's order of selection were broken through random drawings Friday. OKC owns Toronto's lottery pick in the June 27 draft if it falls between selection Nos. 4-14.

The Raptors lost their tiebreaker with Philadelphia (both teams finished 34-48), which means the 76ers reaped to reward of having one more ping-pong ball than Toronto in the May 21 Draft Lottery.

The Raptors now have a .007 percent chance of being drawn for the No. 1 spot in the draft, while Philadelphia has a .008 percent chance.

The Thunder will not receive the first-round pick this year if the Raptors draft choice falls between Nos. 1-3 and Nos. 15-30.

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