Rockets go cold in the second half after a stunning performance at home early on.
The sporting cliche of a ‘tale of two halves’ was made for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s big win over the Houston Rockets on the road.
After the home side scored a staggering 73 points in the first half against the Thunder, they failed to get the lid off in the third and fourth quarters, being held to just 19 points as their opponents ran away with the game late.
Houston shot 57 per cent from the floor in the first half compared to 19 in the second, shot 12-20 from long range in the first compared to 0-14 in the second and had just five turnovers in the first compared to 12 in the second.
All of those stats added up to the Rockets setting an NBA record for the largest scoring differential between two halves. Houston’s 19-point second half is tied for the second-fewest points in a second half in NBA history.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who led from the front again for his side in scoring 36 points, said his side simple applied the pressure on Houston when they needed to.
“We were able to come down and stifle them a little bit and get them out of their rhythm,” Durant said. “They’re a great offensive team. They score the ball so quickly. I think we did a great job of just putting pressure on them.”
Check out Durant’s 36-point game in super slo-mo
The Thunder used a big third quarter to erase a 12-point deficit and tie the score entering the fourth. The teams stayed within a basket after that until Reggis Jackson scored five points in a 7-0 run which gave the Thunder a 97-89 lead with about 4 minutes left.
Oklahoma City stretched its advantage to 103-92 on a fast-break dunk by Jackson with 1:18 to go.
Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the victors while Dwight Howard (11 points and eight rebounds) and James Harden (16 points) were below their best for the Rockets.