Five takeaways from the Thunder's win against the Rockets
The Thunder beat the Rockets 113-92 Thursday night in Russell Westbrook’s return to Oklahoma City. Here are five takeaways from the game:
Past and present meet
Westbrook saw Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as a mismatch, and Westbrook was right.
Westbrook backed down the second-year Thunder guard and got to the rim with ease.
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Westbrook led the Rockets with 34 points on 14-of-26 shooting in his homecoming.
Westbrook interacted with Thunder fans during just about every stoppage. He was honored before the game with a two-minute tribute video.
“MVP, MVP, MVP,” Thunder fans chanted at him.
James Harden is leading the NBA scoring race by a whopping 8.3 points per game. He entered Thursday night averaging 38.5 points per game.
And then Terrance Ferguson came as close to shutting down Harden as possible.
Harden made just 5-of-17 attempts in his 17-point game. He shot 2-of-9 from 3-point range.
The most impressive number to describe Ferguson’s defense is that Harden attempted just five free throws.
Harden didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Danilo Gallinari was initially ruled out Thursday night with a right calf contusion. Then Billy Donovan said before the game that Gallinari would play.
And play he did.
Gallinari was the Thunder’s leading scorer with 23 points. They came in an efficient 7-of-11 shooting performance.
Five Thunder players — Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul, Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder — scored at least 15 points.
The Thunder shot 49 percent from the field, 34 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Uncharacteristically not close
The Thunder has played more games decided in clutch time than any team in the NBA. There was no biting of nails Thursday.
The Thunder led by 12 points at halftime. OKC’s lead grew to 30 points in the second half.
The Thunder won the rebounding battle 52-39 and the assist battle 22-16.