The Houston Rockets fought hard but came up short as the OKC Thunder beat them 112-107.
The Rockets (25-7) suffer their third consecutive loss at the hands of the big OK3 led Thunder (19-15). For the Rockets, this is their first three-game losing streak all season long. OKC looked like a true contender and was able to hang on for the victory on Christmas Day.
Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony all scored north of 20 points and got some tremendous effort all around. Meanwhile, the Rockets were without Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute and injuries are beginning to show how much depth matters to Houston.
Let’s look at the stats of the night:
James Harden: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 14 assists
Clint Capela: 19 points, 10 rebounds, 9/14 from the field
Eric Gordon: 20 points, 3 assists, 6/13 from the field
Even though the Rockets were shorthanded, give credit to OKC. The Thunder lead the league in steals as a team and it showed through their 9 steals as a team. And while Houston kept it close, the team misses CP3 and Mbah a Moute. Defensively, the Rockets have somewhat lost their edge. This became noticeable during the winning streak.
Despite the poor defense, the Rockets managed to win games thanks to their high powered offense. That is a bad habit for this team to get into. If Houston is to contend with the likes of Golden State, the defensive habits that were in place when they ranked 5th in the league have to come back.
As for OKC, it was a balanced effort on offense as well. Russell Westbrook scored 31 points with 11 assists, Anthony had 20 points, and PG-13 rounded out the big three with 24 points. Add in Steven Adams with 15 points on 7/9 shooting and Andre Roberson rounds out the night for the starting 5 with his 4 steals and 2 blocks to go along with 8 points.
One of the positives from the evening for the Rockets was the return of effective pick and roll action. During Capela’s absences this year, Houston’s pick and roll offense suffers and it was noticeable during the Clippers loss and in other games that he has missed.
Here are the full highlights from last night’s game in case you missed the game!
While not the Rockets night, it’s on to the next one for the squad. Hopefully, CP3 returns soon and Luc is close to a return. Until then, Houston has to reestablish good defensive habits and have everyone commit, regardless of whos on the court.
Up next for the Rockets, the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. From all of us here at Space City Scoop, we hope you had a great Christmas, and may the holiday season continue to be jolly for everyone!