The Oklahoma City Thunder faced the Houston Rockets tonight in game two of their mini road trip. However, Houston shot lights out from three, turning the Toyota Center into a full-blown “Swisha House,” defeating the Thunder 124-91.
Houston came off a 124-106 loss to Minnesota on October 20th, a game in which four rookies played for the Rockets, including the number two overall pick Jalen Green. Green was subpar with nine points, four rebounds, and four assists. OKC saw Utah on that same day and lost 107-86. For the Thunder, the biggest news heading into the matchup was Isaiah Roby replacing Derrick Favors in the starting lineup. In contrast, speculation of John Wall’s future with the team continued to be the talk for the Rockets. Nevertheless, Houston remained “draped up” for their home opener against the Thunder.
Both teams fell in love with the three-point shot early, shooting a combined ten three-point shots before the six-minute mark. However, OKC struggled to get in a rhythm early, starting 2-of-10 from the floor. On the other hand, Houston was in a groove early in this game, jumping out to a 19-8 lead midway through the first. OKC’s bench unit was also sluggish to close the first quarter. The Thunder shot just 30 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three. Houston got out and ran with eight fast-break points with 52 percent shooting.
Houston led 34-21 after the first quarter. The Rockets run game was working as they were “Sittin’ Fat Down South” by halftime, shooting 52 percent from the floor and 55 percent from three. Houston extended their lead in the second quarter to a halftime lead of 69-47.
The Rockets saw stellar play from Christian Wood, who scored 13 points in his first ten minutes on 5-of-9 shooting. Wood played “like a boss” in the first half, scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Wood finished the game with a “This is the way we ball” stat line of 29 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks. Eric Gordon added 22 points off the bench on the night, shooting 7-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from three.
For OKC, Kendrich Williams led all scorers at the half with 10 points. He finished the game with 12. As the starting center, Roby only played six minutes in the first half, which may or may not have affected the chemistry of the team. Roby played just four minutes in the second half.
Still, Thunder fans might be asking themselves, “was starting Roby over Favors the right call?” In addition, the Thunder’s offensive struggles are cause for concern, particularly from beyond the arch. Shooting just 7-of-20 from three at the half, OKC desperately needed to hit some shots in the second half. Lou Dort was scoreless in the first half. I thought that my “mind was playing tricks on me,” alas, it was not.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander again struggled shooting the ball and couldn’t get in a flow offensively, finishing the night with 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Furthermore, the chemistry of the Thunder was off from the jump, which caused OKC to go deep into the bench, playing Mike Muscala, Ty Jerome, and Gabriel Deck by the midway point of the third quarter. However, Houston’s three-point shot continued to keep the Thunder “back, back,” as the lead grew as high as 30 during the third quarter.
Muscala was a bright spot for the Thunder, scoring 13 points in nine minutes to close the third quarter, which tied Gilgeous-Alexander for the game-high in scoring going into the fourth. However, Muscala would return to the bench in the fourth until the three-minute mark. Aleksej Pokusevski stood out during the fourth quarter, scoring the team’s first eight points to highlight his 10 point night. OKC looked out-of-sync tonight, shooting 37 percent from the floor and 34 percent from three. Houston’s three-ball was just too much leaving the Thunder “sittin’ sideways,” with their second loss on the season. The final from H-Town was 124-91. OKC will play its first home opener on Sunday against the 76ers at 6 pm.