The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Houston Rockets for the second time this season last night 124-94 to improve to 23-6 on the year.
James Harden struggled once again for Houston going 6-for-17 from the field and finishing with 25 points.
The Rockets didn’t shoot well enough or get nearly enough stops to keep up with the Thunder. Houston shot 39.8 percent from the field while the Thunder shot 47.9 percent.
Houston has been on a nice run of late but competing with the Thunder is something they look very far from accomplishing.
The Thunder will be off Sunday and then back in action at home Monday night vs. the Phoenix Suns.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 32 minutes, 26 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists – B+
Durant did not get off to a great start shooting last night but eventually came around to an 8-for-18 night. The key was making 4-of-9 3-pointers as he continues his run of hot shooting from three of late. Durant was much more aggressive the first time OKC played Houston this year and last night felt like just another game.
Russell Westbrook – 30 minutes, 28 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds – A
Westbrook shot 50 percent from the field last night for just the second time in the month of December. It was a favorable matchup for him going up against Jeremy Lin and Houston ended up having to play backup Toney Douglas more to try and slow Westbrook down. The shots Westbrook got last night were much easier than what he usually gets which is a testament to how weak Houston’s defense is more than anything else.
Serge Ibaka – 30 minutes, 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block – B
Ibaka was quiet last night offensively making just 2-of-7 field goals. He’s been getting after the boards lately though averaging 9.8 per game in the month of December. He had 10 last night and if he can become a double-double guy, the decision to go with him over Harden will look like that much better of a decision.
Kevin Martin – 24 minutes, 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists – A
Lost in this matchup has been the fact that Martin is also playing against his former team, not just Harden. He gets up for this game and made five threes last night as he was very aggressive looking to score. Martin made a couple of nice passes in the flow of the offense too which is always nice to see from him.
Kendrick Perkins – 21 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks – B
Not much was needed from Perkins last night as he was matched up with Omer Asik. He just needed to keep Asik off the glass and he definitely accomplished that holding him to eight boards. Perkins also added three blocks and three assists which are good numbers for him.
Thabo Sefolosha – 30 minutes, 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals – A+
Sefolosha tied a season-high with 15 last night on 6-of-10 shooting. He had by far the best plus-minus of any Thunder player at plus-39. When he scores other than off threes, it is just plain gravy for the Thunder and that was the case last night.
Nick Collison – 27 minutes, 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists – A+
This may have been Collison’s best game of the season last night. He had a double-double but it was more than that as he just seemed to always be in the right place at the right time killing the Rockets. That’s not out of the ordinary for Collison but last night it was just more pronounced than ever. It all came so easy to him too as he looked to just be going through the motions on his way to a perfect game.
Reggie Jackson – 18 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Jackson was solid once again but it’s easy to see the difference between he and Eric Maynor and what the Thunder lose with him. Jackson had just one assist despite running point for nearly all of his minutes and having plenty of opportunities in the pick-and-roll to set up teammates. He also turned the ball over four times and the scoring was exactly promising. He can be a good defender and rebounder for his position which is nice but the loss of a true point guard in the rotation may hurt the Thunder down the road.
Hasheem Thabeet – 18 minutes, 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block – C+
Thabeet has been leaving a lot to be desired lately, especially offensively. As the Thunder gravitate more and more to the small ball lineups expect for Thabeet to become less of a factor than even he is now.
Eric Maynor and Jeremy Lamb each played the last five minutes of garbage time. Of course Lamb drilled a three from the corner right when he came in. This guy really needs a shot to get some playing time this year.