The Thunder traveled to Houston to take on the Rockets on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It has only been 11 days since their last meeting, which was Russell Westbrook’s return to OKC. Thunder won that game 113-92.
OKC came into this game trying to build off their win over the Portland Trailblazers Saturday night. It was looking to be an uphill battle when Steven Adams went down with an ankle injury just a minute and a half into the game, and did not return. The Thunder were already without Nerlens Noel, Terrance Ferguson (who has done a fantastic job defending James Harden), and Abdel Nader.
The 1st half was dominated by Chris Paul, who had 25 points at the break. It was vintage Chris Paul, and a lot of fun to watch. He finished with 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Danilo Gallinari played a great game, and helped lead their comeback in the 4th quarter by hitting some big threes down the stretch. He finished with a double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds. Gallinari and Paul both shot 50 percent from three-point range.
Dennis Schröder continues to be one of the best 6th men in the league. He had a nice 4th quarter, and even hit a clutch mid-range jumper over James Harden to put OKC up by 3 with about 30 seconds remaining. He finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a quiet good game, but he made a lot of big plays in the 4th quarter that sealed the win for the Thunder. He didn’t take a lot of shots tonight, but was very efficient. He finished the game with a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds, and shot 50 percent from the field.
Luguentz Dort got a lot of minutes tonight. He didn’t shoot the ball very well, but he played phenomenal defense on Harden. Harden did finish with 29 points, but because of Dort’s defense, he shot 9-29 from the field, and 1-17 from three! Dort tacked on 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Mike Muscala played 25 minutes with the absence of Adams and Noel, but the only points he had was a free throw. Although, he did get 3 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Darius Bazley and Hamidou Diallo combined for 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Bazley made some big shots in the 3rd quarter to keep the Thunder in it. It looked like he got into a little verbal altercation with Harden towards the end of the 3rd quarter. He doesn’t back down from the trash-talk. Diallo was his normal self, making hustle plays all over the court.
We also had a Deonte Burton sighting, which was highlighted by a pick and roll with Schröder that resulted in an awesome Burton slam. He even had a nice block on Harden earlier in the game.
The Thunder once again put together a comeback that didn’t seem likely, and somehow pull out a great road victory over the Rockets, with a final score of 112-107. It was perfect for Thunder fans because Westbrook finished with another historic triple-double, which made him just the second player ever to have a triple-double against every NBA team, and the Thunder still pulled out the win. Lebron James was the first to do it, and he also accomplished that feat this season.
Up next: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic on Wednesday, January 22nd.