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Houston Rockets Game 71 of 2015-16 Season – vs Oklahoma City Thunder

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Apr 3, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 118-110. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 118-110. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston Rockets Game 71 of 2015-16 featured the Oklahoma City Thunder in a loss.

Apr 3, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) dunks the ball during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing SCS series of all 82 games from last season next up is the Houston Rockets Game 71 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.

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 71 – Oklahoma City Thunder

In the Rockets 71st  game of the season  they lost to the Thunder for the second time.

169. 111. 149. . 107

Pregame Analysis:

After finishing 3-0 on a mini Eastern Conference road trip, the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder will be returning home to Chesapeake Arena to face off against the Houston Rockets.

Houston will be looking to bounce back after losing to the Atlanta Hawks three nights ago, a game in which the Rockets stayed competitive until the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. The Hawks were able to pull away through a series of Rockets turnovers which lead to easy transition baskets on the other end.

Oklahoma City on the other hand will look to continue their dominant play as Durant and Company have won four in a row, knocking off the Philadelphia 76ers and playoff bruisers such as the Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers. – Anthony Nguyen

The full pregame analysis Houston Rockets Game 71 can be viewed here

Post Game Analysis:

Following a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The Houston Rockets lost their second straight game, Tuesday, this time to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was like Deja Vu all over again for the Rockets. Thanks to the play of James Harden and Dwight Howard, Houston played well throughout the game. Unfortunately, a few critical mistakes down the stretch cost them the game. With the loss, Houston has dropped below .500 and eighth in the West. – Coty Davis

The full post game analysis Houston Rockets Game 71 can be viewed here.

Stat Leaders:

As per Davis post game/player grades he credited Harden and Mr. Triple-Double, Russell Westbrook top honors.

James Harden: I have gained a whole new respect for The Beard tonight. Despite playing on an injured ankle, James Harden had a great game. Although he had a good shooting night, it was his play making ability that stood out. During the first half, Harden had a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists. Which made the game easier for Ariza, Howard, and Motiejunas. During the second half, it was more of the same from Harden. As he racked up a career-high in assists. When the Rockets needed someone to step up late in the fourth. Harden did all he could to carry Houston to a win. Despite a few questionable turnovers. Off his heart alone, one of his best nights of the season for The Beard. 24 points, 15 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 steals. GRADE A

Russell Westbrook: Well this isn’t surprising. Say what you want about Russell Westbrook. He is easily a top five player in this league. Against the Rockets, Westbrook recorded his third straight triple-double in the win. Overall, great night for Westbrook. 21 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds. GRADE A

Houston Rockets Game 71 NBA.com box score.

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.

Draft Picks:

Round 1: Domantas Sabonis (11)

Round 2: Daniel Hamilton (56)

Incoming Free Agents:

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)

Extended:

Russell Westbrook extended his existing contract by 3 years in a $85 million dollar extension.

Next: Updated Free Agency Report

Next: Free Agency Profiles for all 30 Teams

Due to the large Houston Rockets fan base, SCS is always looking to add new talent to our writing team. If you’re a budding writer who possesses these qualities vist the SCS link, and fill out an application.

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