Posted December 29, 2012 on
AP on Fox
While the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't have much trouble getting past former teammate James Harden and the Houston Rockets last month, a repeat performance could be tougher.
The Thunder try to avoid losing three straight on the road for the first time in two seasons Saturday night against a Rockets team that's piled up home wins lately.
After failing to work out an extension with Harden, Oklahoma City (22-6) surprisingly sent the reigning Sixth Man of the Year to Houston (16-13) as part of a six-player deal just days before the season started.
The Thunder got the best of the Rockets in the teams' first meeting since the trade, winning 120-98 on Nov. 28 behind 37 points from Kevin Durant and 23 from Serge Ibaka. Harden, meanwhile, finished with 17 on 3-of-16 shooting, though his head may have been elsewhere after Houston stopped in Minnesota earlier that day to attend the funeral of coach Kevin McHale's daughter.
"It's crazy," Durant said afterward. "Seeing (Harden) before the game ... in a different uniform is a little different. We've moved on past it, man. We're happy to see him, glad he's doing well out there in Houston but we wanted this win bad."
That victory was one of 12 straight put together by the Thunder, who've looked a bit shaky since. After suffering back-to-back six-point losses at Minnesota and Miami, Oklahoma City needed overtime to beat Dallas 111-105 at home Thursday. Durant led the way with 40 points, the second time he's scored at least that many in his last four games.
Not including three straight losses in Miami during last season's NBA finals, the Thunder haven't dropped three in a row on the road since February 2011.
The Thunder, winners of seven of 10 in this series, pulled out consecutive road victories over the Rockets before coming up short 96-95 in their last visit Feb. 15. The franchise has dropped 12 of 14 in Houston dating to 2005, when it was still located in Seattle.
Houston hasn't had much trouble protecting its own court of late. The Rockets have won 10 of 12 at home, including four straight by an average of 16.2 points.
They entered Friday riding a season-best five-game overall winning streak but couldn't keep it going at San Antonio, falling 122-116 despite 33 points from Harden. Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin scored a combined 45, but the three top scorers each committed five of the team's season-high 24 turnovers.
The Rockets also struggled to stop the Spurs, who shot 57.1 percent overall and scored 41 points in the first quarter.
"I think it was the start of the game," McHale said. "We had to fight back. I was proud of the guys and how they battled back."
While Houston leads the league with 105.7 points per game, it's giving up 103.1 to rank 29th.
In addition to trying to contain Durant, the Rockets could have their hands full with Ibaka, who had 19 points and a season high-tying 17 rebounds Thursday against the Mavericks. He's averaging a career-high 8.5 boards - 12.3 over his last six games.
"He's been on a rebounding tear," coach Scott Brooks said. "When he plays like that - aggressive on the glass - it seems to open up the other parts of his game and also the rest of the (other) guys' games."
Kevin Martin, acquired in the Harden deal, is averaging 15.8 points and will surely be looking to come out strong in his first return to Houston. The Thunder are 14-1 when he scores at least 16, and he had 17 against the Rockets last month.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
There have been reams and reams of words flying off the fingers of Royce White the last two months, but at this point the only thing that seems clear is that the Houston Rockets rookie forward remains unwilling to play for the team.
White on Sunday refused an assignment to the Rockets NBA Developmental League affiliate according to the Houston Chronicle, which also obtained a 463...
BASELINE TO BASELINE
The Oklahoma City Thunder faced off Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks, and midway during the third quarter Kevin Durant exhibited – as if we needed refreshing – shy he’s an insane athlete and a top player in the game. In the video below, Durant followed a block with a coast-to-coast slam over Chris Kaman. [...]The post Kevin Durant’s Block, Coast-To-Coast Slam ...
OKLAHOMA CITY For most of Thursday's game, the Thunder looked like they were on a losing streak and it looked like Russell Westbrook was somewhere between uninterested and lost.
Westbrook was dreadful 2-of-9 in the first half, 4-of-14 after three quarters and other than Kevin Durant, the team wasn't much better. They trailed the below-average Mavericks by as much as 11...
Mark EvansThe situation between the Houston Rockets and first round draft pick Royce White has been a mess all season. White has been away from the team for most of the season and has yet to appear in a game. Recently, head coach Kevin McHale said he didn’t even know exactly what was going on with White.
It looks like there might finally be some sort of progress, as the Houston...
Jeff Green supported his “Thunder Buddy” Kevin Durant last night, as he wore the Durantula’s signature shoe the Nike KD V. Jeff’s pair featured a black upper with a while midsole. This colorway has not been released to the public. However the KD V is available for customization on NIKE ID as we speak. You can make this exact pair with the options on NikeID. You What...
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) --Kevin Durant scored 40 points while Russell Westbrook added eight of his 16 points in overtime to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat Dallas 111-105 on Thursday night for their 11th straight win at home.
Serge Ibaka added 19 points and matched his season high with 17 rebounds as Oklahoma City charged back from 10 points down in the final 7:17 of regulation and...
The matchup of the game for Friday night's game between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets is Tony Parker vs Jeremy Lin.
With James Harden out last game between the two clubs, Lin had a ridiculous game against the Spurs that saw him score 38 points and dish out 7 assists. The Spurs got the win though behind Parker's triple double of 27 points, 12 assists, and 12...
White was sent to the Rockets' D-League affiliate on Saturday, but he released a statement Sunday refusing to accept the assignment.
Kevin Durant went HAM last night to say the least. Durant dropped an easy 40 on the Dallas Mavericks to help the Thunder win in overtime. Make sure to check out the crazy shot by Darren Collison that took the game to overtime. Durant is second in scoring behind Kobe Bryant and a clear top 3 pick for MVP honors along with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Last night he had...
Mavs - Thunder was an absolute highlight fest last night. The last: OKC's Kevin Durant blocks Darren Collison's layup attempt (he's more comfortable with circus threes) -- then goes coast-to-coast...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
Despite early concern surrounding the trade of James Harden (including from yours truly) the Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be doing pretty well so far this season without the bearded one providing instant offense off of the bench. They are still the team to beat in the West, and have a great shot at a return trip to the Finals this coming summer. Kevin Martin has provided...
Darren Collison couldn’t believe it himself, in a last second desperation attempt to save a broken play, the Mavs point guard hoisted a three pointer off one foot and miraculously sent his team to OT with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the TNT broadcast: