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Houston Rockets suffer second consecutive loss to Western elite – Player Grades

Jan 29, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) drives to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (5) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) drives to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (5) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston Rockets suffer second consecutive loss following Howard’s ejection in Oklahoma City

The schedule has not been friendly to the Houston Rockets as they fell for a second consecutive game to a Western powerhouse.

After getting a reality check from the San Antonio Spurs,  J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad had to deal with NBA’s most devastating duo: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road.

169. 116. 149. . 108

Houston repeated the same lineup from last game in the 4-out 1-in style, OKC lined up their usual team.

The Thunder started the game with an impressive sloppy interior defense and allowed Houston to take advantage and get a lot of easy layups. As the game progressed, Billy Donovan made some adjustments in his defense and supported by the “hack-a-Howard” strategy managed to get back in the match.

Tension mounted in the third quarter culminating in Dwight Howard getting ejected then Westbrook and Beverley both committed hard fouls and things got messy for a while.

After Howard’s ejection, Bickerstaff decided Clint Capela was supposed to be in charge of the Rockets entire interior defense while Josh Smith and Terrence Jones quietly sat on the bench for the majority of the fourth quarter, thus allowing the most overpaid one-way player in the league to take over the game: Enes Kanter.

Together with Westbrook and Durant, Kanter ended up paving the way for what became a rather easy home win for the Thunder.

Rockets Player Grades

B+. After getting bonked by Westbrook, <a href=. F. Houston Rockets. COREY BREWER

Houston Rockets. TREVOR ARIZA. C. Charged with the “easy” task of containing Kevin Durant, <a href=. SF

F-. <a href=. C. Houston Rockets. DWIGHT HOWARD

SG. Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN. A. <a href=

Houston Rockets. PATRICK BEVERLEY. D. There was a time when Patrick Beverley was the one player who could effectively guard Russell Westbrook. That time is in the past as Beverley can’t keep up with Westbrook’s speed and basketball I.Q. anymore. Beverley is a tough guy and that was probably something the Rockets needed tonight, but his lack of offensive fire power hurt Houston greatly. 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals.. PG

Best Reserve

C. <a href=. PF. Houston Rockets. JOSH SMITH

Best Opponent:

A. Just another day in the office for <a href=. PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. RUSSELL WESTBROOK

For more exciting news and stories on the the Oklahoma City Thunder visit our affiliate Fansided site: Thunderous Intentions. Also, check out our preseason team preview of the Thunder:

Next: Thunder Preview: The Season Of Revenge

Next: Top Rockets Point Guards All Time?

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

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