The Oklahoma City game plan, it seems, was to give the Rockets, on the second night of a back-to-back, an opportunity to fizzle early. Houston declined: they fought to a 31-31 tie after the first quarter. So the Thunder slowly ratcheted up the defense, holding the Rockets to 25 points in the second quarter and 20 in the third. Houston recovered a bit in the fourth, but didn’t gain any ground, and the Thunder won it 117-105.
Telltale statistic: Rockets guard Kevin Martin made seven of 14 shots — five of seven from beyond the arc — but bricked three out of six free throws. That’s pretty much the kind of night Houston had: things would work for a while, and then they wouldn’t. The Rockets didn’t lack for offense firepower, what with five players in double figures and twenty-two trey attempts, but they pulled down only 28 rebounds. And Shawn Battier, normally able to thread his way through anything the Thunder can throw at him, was held to five points.
When the Thunder can shoot, they win, and tonight they could shoot: 57.7 from the floor, seven of 11 from the outskirts. Add 28 free throws (in 29 attempts), and you have the makings of a near-blowout. Kevin Durant hit 12 of 18 for 32 points; Jeff Green added 21 and Russell Westbrook 17 more. But the real delight was seeing Thabo Sefolosha knocking down a season-high 15 points to go with his nine rebounds.
Mullens Report: Byron played five minutes. He did not score, but he reeled in four boards, two off the offensive glass, and committed no fouls.
The Kings will be in town Friday night. The ailing Tyreke Evans is ailing no more: he rang up 22 points in a loss to the Hornets tonight, so we’ll have to deal with him.