Houston Rockets Game 77th 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 77th 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.
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 77 – Oklahoma City Thunder
In Houston’s 77th game of the season, and fourth versus the Thunder the Rockets won to split the season series.
In the Rockets 77th game of the season Houston was desperate for a win. Standing in their way the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were winners in 9 of their past 10 games. Entering the night Houston trailed 2 teams for the final playoff berth with just 6 games left to play. The pre game analysis highlighted these points.
With 6 games remaining and a full game out of the playoffs the Houston Rockets face the Thunder in a virtual must win situation.
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of a reach to say they have to win, yet the reality is time is running out. The fact they trail both the Jazz and Mavericks by a full game with 6 games left means it does seem like the Houston Rockets options are limited. Though the next game versus the Mavericks will be the most crucial game of the season a win in Oklahoma City would definitely go a long way to helping bridge the difference.
Meanwhile the Thunder have been on fire as they prepare for the post season. They’ve won 9 of their last 10 games, with the lone loss in Detroit on the back end of a back to back series in which they rested Kevin Durant.
The full pregame report can be accessed via this link.
Post Game Analysis
Coty Davis offered player grades and a post game analysis of a huge win by the Rockets.
Down the majority of the game. It seemed like the Thunder were on the verge of a blowout win against the Rockets. However, with James Harden leading the way, Houston would live up to their nickname as Clutch City. While Harden carried the load on offense. Houston’s second unit played a key factor in the win. Despite the victory, the Rockets are still on the outside looking into the playoffs.
Since arriving in Houston from Oklahoma City James Harden has had a tendency to save his best games for when he plays the Thunder. Harden scored 41 points, with 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
Russell Westbrook came one assist shy of registering another triple-double after shellacking the Rockets in the game prior. Kevin Durant was especially relevant with 33 points, 8 rebounds and a steal.
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. 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
More from Space City Scoop
- Rockets: Time to return the slander towards Rachel Nichols
- What the Rockets must do with the second overall pick
- Houston Rockets: The case for, and against, trading Christian Wood
- NBA Rumors: Why the Houston Rockets shouldn’t trade up to no. 1 in NBA Draft
- 3 players that would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets at 23 or 24
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 78 versus the Dallas Mavericks