The Beard returned to Chesapeake Arena last night and he was not feared.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were up to the challenge of stopping James Harden, holding him to 3-of-16 shooting from the field and 17 points.
The Thunder beat Houston 120-98 to improve to 12-4 on the year. OKC shot 54.0 percent from the field, had 15 offensive rebounds, 26 assists and 11 blocks as a team.
It was a game you knew the Thunder would be up for and this is the result when that is the case. They were clicking on all cylinders especially defensively.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 43 minutes, 37 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists – A+
Durant was not going to let Harden come back to OKC and put on a show. He challenged him on the defensive end then put on his own show on the other end. Durant went 13-of-22 from the field and got to the line 10 times, making nine free throws. The Rockets were without Chandler Parsons making it so they had no chance of containing Durant and that was the case as he got a lot of open jump shots throughout the game.
Russell Westbrook – 36 minutes, 14 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds – B+
Westbrook didn’t have his best shooting night but he was all over the floor otherwise getting three steals, dropping nine dimes and blocking Harden from behind on one play in dramatic fashion. He played under control and that’s when he is at his best. The slow start to the season for Westbrook feels like a long time ago right now.
Serge Ibaka – 29 minutes, 23 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks – A+
Ibaka was flat out feeling it from the outside and there was nothing Houston could do about it. It’s just not fair trying to stop the Thunder offense when Ibaka goes 11-of-13 from the field. Defensively he was a terror as well swatting six shots and it felt like he blocked Harden every time he drove to the rack.
Kevin Martin – 28 minutes, 17 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound – B+
Everyone forgot that Martin was also playing against his former team last night. He did better than Harden did making 6-of-14 shots and 3-of-7 threes. He was very aggressive taking threes and made a few really nice drives to the rim which are few and far between for him. He looked up for this game more so than usual as well and in veteran fashion, played a very nice game.
Kendrick Perkins – 23 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists – C+
Perkins was giving Harden friendly nudges as he ran down the court on more than one occasion. He was focused defensively and played well but still nothing special for the Thunder big man. OKC was outscored by six while he was on the floor.
Thabo Sefolosha – 33 minutes, 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist – A
Sefolosha was very active and once he hit a three – extending his career-high streak of game with at least one made three to eight – it became a good night for him. He guarded Harden a lot and obviously did a good job on him.
Nick Collison – 19 minutes, 8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists – A
Collison was particularly efficient getting assists last night. He worked hard for five offensive rebounds and turned those into points quite often. The Thunder were plus-22 with him in last night.
Eric Maynor – 13 minutes, 0 points, 1 assist, 2 steals – C
Maynor missed all three of his shots, two of which were threes. He really hasn’t had a good game in awhile and it’s starting to be a real concern.
Hasheem Thabeet – 8 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks – B
Thabeet got into a little shouting match with Harden after a physical meeting at the rim in the first half and was ejected, but then the ejection was rescinded and Thabeet returned to the floor to a standing ovation from the Thunder fans. Other than that, he was solid.
Perry Jones, III, Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson played the final three minutes of the game. Lamb nailed two threes.