Houston Rockets Game 4 of 2015-16 featured the Oklahoma City Thunder in what inevitably was their first win of the season.
Continuing SCS series of all 82 games from last season next up is the Houston Rockets Game 4 of 2015-16 versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Houston Rockets added draft picks and signed free agents to improve upon an especially mediocre 41-41 campaign. Big man Dwight Howard left for Atlanta while free agents Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Nene Hilario and Pablo Prigioni joined Houston in free agency.
Therefore Houston hopes their free agent additions and the growth of existing assets will translate into a season similar to 2014-15. While fans wait for October 26th opening night versus the Lakers hopefully this series will appease your cravings.
To that end, this series showcases the Rockets 82 games noting the pregame analysis, post game grades, and relevant video. Furthermore, SCS will highlight significant changes made by their opponents this summer. So, here it is – – enjoy all 82 posts as SCS takes you back over the 2015-16 season.
Game 4 – Oklahoma City Thunder
In the Rockets fourth game of the season Houston finally registered their first win f the season.
Heading into their fourth game of the season the Houston Rockets were desperate for a victory. Couple that with the fact their previous three games had all resulted in blowout losses by 20 points each, and Harden hadn’t looked sharp.
Adding intrigue to the match was the opponent featured Harden’s great buddies Durant and Westbrook. The stage was set and stress levels were mounting.
Here’s the full pregame analysis.
Post Game Analysis:
Nov 2, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after making a three point shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center. Rocket won 110 to 105. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Finally the Rockets registered a much needed victory. The fact it came against the power house Thunder made it all the more sweet. Although the Rockets spent the first half pressing they found their chemistry and efficiency in the second half. Notably Houston registered an eye popping 18 steals!
"While it’s just one win, it felt much bigger than that as the win gives the Rockets something to build from moving forward. More importantly James Harden got his mojo back and though the averages still aren’t where he wants them, those 2 shots taken at the end of the first half catapulted him back to the player everyone was clamoring for. Both Harden and the team as a whole need to use this win as a stepping stone and recognize there are still areas that need major improvements, but at least the monkey is off their back."
The full write-up can be viewed via this link.
ESPN’s box score can be reviewed via this link.
Harden found his mojo tonight facing his former team and proved when he is functioning at the top of his game so too are his teammates. His final stat line 37 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. More importantly Harden was 12 of 26 from the field seemingly rediscovering his 3-point shot.
Lawson produced his best game since donning a Rockets uniform with 14 points, 11 assists and 4 steals.
Westbrook who was 2 rebounds shy of registering a triple-double (25 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists). Showcasing how pivotal he is to the Thunder, it was when he had to sit after picking up his 4th personal foul that the Rockets got back in the game.
Durant pitched in with 29 points while Ibaka snagged 14 rebounds.
Rockets Games vs Thunder in 2016-17
- November16th in Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- December 9th in Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- January 5th at home
- March 28th at home
Draft Picks and Free Agents
Obviously the loss of Kevin Durant changed the landscape of the Association and hit the Thunder faithful hard. With Sam Presti making the draft night deal to bring in Oladipo, Sabonis and Ilyasova the thoughts were Durant was staying. Post K.D. exit Russell Westbrook also surprised NBA fans when he extended his contract 3 years.
During Durant and Westbrook’s tenure in OKC often K.D. was viewed as the good guy while Westbrook took all the heat. Westbrook’s decisions were constantly dissected and coupled with his penchant for playing full out he was deemed incorrigible. Entering free agency most pundits felt Durant would re-sign and Westbrook would bolt for L.A. next summer. Hindsight is 20-20 as the reverse occurred and perhaps for the first time in his career Westbrook will get the positive edit.
Still, losing a top 3 NBA franchise player makes the Thunder and GM Sam Presti’s job more difficult. Don’t be surprised if Presti adds yet another tall front court player to their squad as OKC remain competitive and know the Warriors weakness is dealing with length.
Round 1: Domantas Sabonis (11)
Round 2: Daniel Hamilton (56)
Incoming Free Agents:
- Victor Oladipo (trade)
- Ersan Ilyasova (trade)
- Domantas Sabonis (trade)
- Alex Abrines to a 3-year $18M deal. Abrines was drafted in 2013 by the Thunder in the second round
Exiting Free Agents:
- Kevin Durant joins Warriors in biggest decision of summer 2-years, $54.3M
- Serge Ibaka (traded on draft night)
- Randy Foye joins Nets on reported 1-year deal
- Dion Waiters agreeing to a 2-year $6M deal with Heat (after OKC rescinded $6.8M offer)
Russell Westbrook extended his existing contract by 3 years in a $85 million dollar extension.
Next up Game 5 versus the Orlando Magic