Game Grades: OKC Thunder fall flat against Rockets despite Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's efforts

OKC Thunder fall flat against the Houston Rockets despite Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's game.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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The Oklahoma City Thunder went down early and never recovered in a rough night in Houston. 

The Houston Rockets beat the Thunder 110-101 in the teams’ first matchup this season. The keys to the game were rebounding and outside shooting, typically battles the Thunder have split this season.

The OKC Thunder struggle to rebound and defend the 3-point line against the Rockets.

The Thunder were crushed on the glass, giving up 53 rebounds. Jabari Smith Jr. was the Rockets’ catalyst on the glass, grabbing 18 boards.

Meanwhile, another big man led an all-around effort for Houston. Alperen Sengun went for 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

From outside, the Thunder have been one of the league’s best but could not get anything to fall in Houston, finishing 8-of-29 from beyond the arc. The Rockets shot 15-of-33 from outside, and their fourth-quarter explosion helped them seize full control.

Still, the Thunder’s ability to force turnovers helped them overcome some of those issues. The Rockets turned it over 19 times, leading to much-needed transition baskets for the Thunder.

But those transition buckets were not enough for Oklahoma City to win, as only two starters scored in double-digits. Oklahoma City’s 43.5% shooting night is simply not a recipe for success, particularly on the road.

The Thunder will get a chance to right those wrongs in their final matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Friday.