Houston Rockets Game 49 of 2015-16 featured the Oklahoma City Thunder in what inevitably was their first win of the season.
Jan 29, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) leaves the floor after being called for a second technical foul in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Continuing SCS series of all 82 games from last season next up is the Houston Rockets Game 49 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.
Hopes are these additions and the growth of existing assets will translate into a season similar to 2014-15. While fans wait for opening night on October 26th 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 49 – Oklahoma City Thunder
After notching their first win of the season versus the Thunder, this second meeting ended in a loss to Oklahoma City.
With the All-Star Break on the horizon the Rockets were just trying to build momentum as the pregame analysis pointed out.
The last time these two teams met the Houston Rockets were still seeking their first victory having started the season 0-4. After they beat the Thunder and went on a mini win streak everyone in H-Town assumed they had just got out of the gate slowly. Alas the team continued to vacillate between looking like last year’s squad and a team who had seemingly lost all ability to defend.
Inconsistency has been their consistency. Having past the half way mark they now need to close the gap on the teams in front of them on the playoff ladder. Specifically two Southwest rivals (Dallas/Memphis) as the ideal first round playoff partner would definitely be a team other than the top two seeds (Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs).
Post Game Analysis:
Andre Cantalogo’s full write-up can be viewed via this link.
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.
Easy to select the top dogs in this one with Harden being the only player to do much for Houston and Russell Westbrook putting up another triple-double.
NBA.com box score can be reviewed via this link.
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. With Durant gone but knowing the Warriors have issues with length don’t be surprised if Presti adds another front court player.
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.
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.
Due to the large Houston Rockets fan base, SCS is always looking to add new talent to our writing team. To that end, we’re looking for individuals with a specialized focus. Specifically, the first area is perfect for someone who constantly surfs for breaking news on injuries, trades, insider info. Consequently this individual would select top news items providing timely quick hits to keep SCS readers in the loop.
The other writer would possess an especially strong social media background and would like to interact with Clutch City Fans. Therefore this person will promote SCS team content on facebook and twitter. As a result the successful candidate will make sure to promote the best content coming from H-Town fans. In conclusion, if you’re a budding writer who possesses these qualities vist the SCS link, and fill out an application.