Thunder Delivers Christmas Day Win Over Rockets
The Oklahoma City Thunder won its fifth consecutive game on Monday at Chesapeake Energy Arena — a resounding 112-107 victory over James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony combined for 75 points in a win that saw the Thunder shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
The Thunder’s season record moves to 19-15 with the win — and don’t look now, but things appear to be coming together. Now for some thoughts and notes on the Christmas Day triumph.
54.4: The Thunder shot 54.4 percent in this one — about what you have to do in order to beat a team like the Rockets. Great night from the field.
44.4: The Thunder hit 8/18 from downtown, good for 44.4 percent.
78.3: OKC hit 18/23 from the free throw line, splashing 78.3 percent of attempts. The struggles from the stripe have been awful lately but this was passable and necessary in every way.
40-38: The Thunder won 40-38 on the glass.
20-9: OKC outscored Houston 20-9 in the fast break.
14: Only 14 of the Thunder’s 112 points came from members of the bench. For those not counting, that’s 98 points out of the starters. 75 came from the OK3 alone.
The OK3 was sensational against Houston, combining to score 75 of the Thunder’s 112 points on 28/51 shooting (55 percent). It was one of the only games all season that all three men could be considered clicking at the same time — and it translated in a win over the team with the NBA’s best record entering the contest.
Their individual stat lines:
Westbrook: 31 pts, 11 ast, 6 reb, 3 stl, 12/24 FG, 7/8 FT, +11
George: 24 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast, 8/15 FG, 4/7 3P, +4
Anthony: 20 pts, 5 reb, 8/12 FG, 2/4 3P, +5
Westbrook was next-level, shooting 50 percent from the field and only attempting one shot from beyond the arc. He continued his recent streak of masterful performances with 21 of his 31 points coming in the second half — hitting 10 of his final 14 shots after starting just 2/10.
On a night he had several memorable moments, the top one came as he wished the crowd a “Merry Christmas” after sealing the win. This is how I imagined the season feeling prior to it beginning.
Steven Adams. 15 points and 10 rebounds for Steven Adams — another workmanlike double-double for Big Kiwi. He shot 7/9 from the field and seven of his rebounds came on the offensive glass.
Fly Dre. Andre Roberson scored 8 points on 3/4 shooting and finished as a team-high plus-14. He dislocated a finger early in the contest but was luckily able to return. The Rockets tried some Hack-a-Dre — and it even forced him out of the game at times — but he made a game-sealing block on James Harden to put the game on ice. The dude is a difference maker.
Rotational Oddities. Josh Huestis again logged significant minutes — getting 18 minutes of action in this. In comparison, Jerami Grant played 19 and Patrick Patterson saw just nine. This is happening, isn’t it? (Alex Abrines got 3 minutes of playing time.)
The Other Guys. James Harden finished with 29 pts, 14 asts & 8 rebs. Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza both chipped in 20 points apiece while Clint Capela added 19 of his own.
Find someone who supports you the way Russell Westbrook supports Andre Roberson’s free throws.
Paul George played in his first Christmas game and was wired for the contest. Pretty great stuff.