Playing their first game with Russell Westbrook, the Thunder got off to a blazing start, led by Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points in the first half. The Rockets could not get any shots to go down in the first quarter, and trailed at the end of the period 39-19.
Durant finished with 41 points and 14 rebounds, while Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Reggie Jackson, who made his first start at point guard, scored 14 points. The Thunder led by as much as 26 in the second quarter, and held a comfortable 17 point lead at halftime.
That’s when the Rockets made their fierce comeback, outscoring the Thunder 27-14 in the third quarter. James Harden led the way with 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Chandler Parsons added 21 points. Francisco Garcia scored 18 points off the bench, and took the assignment of guarding Durant in the second half, while Carlos Delfino scored 11 points.
Jeremy Lin was able to start, but his bruised chest began hurting again. He only scored 2 points in about 18 minutes of play.
Houston trailed 80-76 going into the fourth quarter, and Parsons tied the game with less than six minutes left. The Rockets then took their first lead since the first quarter at 94-93 when Delfino hit a three. After Ibaka scored four straight points for the Thunder, Harden made a pair of free throws, and on the Rocket’s next possession, Garcia hit a three with 45 seconds remaining to give the Rockets a 99-97 lead.
And that’s when Durant made a three pointer that had the city of Houston stunned.
Durant pulled up from straight-away three and the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced straight up, then hitting the front rim, rolled back to the back rim, before falling through.
“We didn’t want to give up any 3s,” Harden said. “He just made a lucky shot. It was good defense. It just went in and took some of the energy out of us.”
Harden then turned it over on an errant pass, and Derek Fisher knocked down two free throws before Harden scored a quick basket on the Rockets next possession. Jackson then hit a pair of free throws before the Rockets had the ball for the final possession, trailing 104-101.
The play was for Delfino to get an open three point look in the right corner, but the Thunder made a good switch as Ibaka stepped out to guard Delfino, forcing a missed shot to end the game.
“We’ve got to find a way to win those games,” Kevin McHale said. “We have to have that energy from the beginning of the game to the end of the game, we can’t have droughts. You have to play a solid game for 48 minutes.”
Although the Rockets only committed 10 turnovers, they committed 3 key turnovers down the stretch. Facing a 3-0 hole, game 4 will be on Monday night.
|Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Serge Ibaka, PF||31||7-14||0-0||3-3||7||4||11||0||0||2||1||4||0||17|
|Kevin Durant, SF||47||13-30||4-9||11-13||1||13||14||4||2||1||4||3||+3||41|
|Kendrick Perkins, C||16||1-3||0-0||0-0||1||3||4||1||0||0||1||4||+7||2|
|Reggie Jackson, PG||25||3-6||2-4||6-6||0||2||2||1||0||0||3||2||-9||14|
|Thabo Sefolosha, SG||42||1-7||1-6||0-0||1||8||9||3||2||1||2||5||-1||3|
|Nick Collison, PF||17||2-9||0-0||2-2||3||3||6||0||0||1||0||1||+4||6|
|Derek Fisher, PG||24||3-6||1-3||2-2||0||1||1||1||1||1||0||3||+14||9|
|DeAndre Liggins, SG||6||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||1||+4||0|
|Kevin Martin, SG||31||3-11||2-4||4-4||0||1||1||3||2||0||0||1||-7||12|
|Perry Jones, SF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ronnie Brewer, SF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Hasheem Thabeet, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Jeremy Lamb, SG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
Fast break points: 6
Points in the paint: 30
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers): 11 (7)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.
|Chandler Parsons, SF||44||8-12||3-6||2-3||1||6||7||7||1||1||5||3||-5||21|
|Omer Asik, C||31||1-1||0-0||3-4||1||7||8||0||0||4||0||3||-13||5|
|Patrick Beverley, PG||22||3-10||0-3||0-0||0||2||2||3||0||1||0||5||+9||6|
|Jeremy Lin, PG||18||1-6||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||1||-23||2|
|James Harden, SG||44||9-22||2-8||10-15||1||7||8||6||2||2||2||4||0||30|
|Terrence Jones, PF||17||2-3||0-0||0-1||1||6||7||0||0||0||0||2||+10||4|
|Aaron Brooks, PG||9||2-6||0-2||0-0||0||1||1||2||1||0||0||1||+9||4|
|Carlos Delfino, SG||23||3-10||3-8||2-2||0||3||3||4||1||1||2||1||-16||11|
|Francisco Garcia, SG||32||7-13||4-8||0-0||1||4||5||0||1||3||1||5||+14||18|
|Greg Smith, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Thomas Robinson, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Donatas Motiejunas, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|James Anderson, SG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|