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Recap: Thunder at Rockets | NBA.com

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THE REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK

The Big Picture

The Thunder traveled to Houston to face the Rockets on the second night of a back-to-back. The 2 youngest teams within the NBA faced off for the primary time this season – each teams coming off a powerful win the night before. 

As is common within the NBA, Saturday night’s contest was a game of runs that was predicated on volatile shooting. Houston burst out to a fast 14-4 edge, however the Thunder responded with a 9-0 run in the primary quarter as well. The sport turned within the second quarter as Houston ripped off a 29-7 run behind some excellent three-point shooting, while the Thunder’s jumpers didn’t drop. 

While the Thunder continued pushing and didn’t fold, getting contributions off the bench from Aaron Wiggins, Kenrich Williams and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, ultimately the comeback attempt got here up short with a 118-105 loss to Houston. 

Observations

First Quarter

Paris: After falling behind 10 points within the opening 4 minutes of motion, the Thunder called a timeout to settle the sport. Out of the break, OKC erupted on a 9-0 run that began on the defensive end. Three consecutive possessions with a steal and three quality shots on the other end suddenly shifted the sport back to a one-possession contest. By the tip of the primary quarter, the Thunder forced eight turnovers by the Rockets which translated to nine points for OKC. 

Nick: The Thunder continued to hold in there and play its brand of basketball, and it resulted in one other flurry of scoring for the team’s leading scorer – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who racked up 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 10 first quarter minutes. That marked the twenty second time this season that Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 10 or more points in a single quarter. He finished the sport along with his league-leading 14th 30-point game of the season, with 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting. 

Second Quarter

Nick: Aaron Wiggins checked into the sport after being out of the rotation for just a few contests and got here enduring the second quarter and made a direct impact. Wiggins helped force a turnover on defense straight away, then buried a catch and shoot corner 3 from the left side just a few possessions later. Wiggins got here into the sport shooting 43.5 percent on catch and shoot looks, with 56 percent of his 3s coming from the corner. Wiggins finished the sport with 15 points in 23 minutes off the bench. 

Paris: At the tip of the second quarter, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander attacked the center of the ground. Getting swarmed by a number of Rockets uniforms, Gilgeous-Alexander snapped the ball to Jalen Williams who was waiting open within the dunkers spot. J-Dub elevated and finished a powerful layup through a contest which marked his second strong finish on the rim of the night. Within the early going, Williams ripped away a powerful offensive rebound for an additional two points. The 6-foot-6 rookie finished the half with six points and a pair of offensive boards. 

Third Quarter

Nick: Excellent offensive sequence by the Thunder on the opening possession of the third quarter that saw Lu Dort break down the defense and find Jeremiah Robinson-Earl for a dunk on a baseline cut to the rim. Dort picked up two assists in the sport, adding to his career-best 2.1 assists per game this season. Robinson-Earl got here into the sport leading the Thunder in dunks on the yr, as he continues to refine his game and turn into an efficient cog within the Thunder’s offense. 

Paris: Kenyon Martin Jr. attacked the left side of the ground with a wide-open lane ahead of him and large ambitions for a finish. As he elevated to throw down a one-handed slam, Thunder forward Darius Bazley met him on the rim and completely smothered his dunk attempt. Bazley – who’s one in every of the league’s most accurate shot blockers with more blocks than fouls – once more demonstrated his ability to contest shots with discipline and logged his fourth consecutive game with a number of blocks. 

Fourth Quarter

Paris: Thunder sharp-shooter Isaiah Joe snatched the ball away as Tari Eason threw an errant pass. The steal resulted in a layup on the opposite end for Aaron Wiggins. It was the second steal of the sport for Joe whose activity was on full display defensively – along with his two steals, he also stepped in to take a charge in transition on Jalen Green and by the tip of the night, he finished with six points, three assists and three rebounds. 

Nick: It was too little too late, however the Thunder threw one last punch with an 11-2 run midway through the fourth quarter. That burst helped cut the lead right down to just 14 after the deficit was as high as 27. The Thunder benefitted from Jalen Williams drawing a take foul, then soaring for a defensive rebound and getting fouled on the play, resulting in two more free throws. Williams scored 11 in the sport, putting the rookie into double figures in seven of his last nine games, a stretch wherein he’s averaging 11.8 points per game. Williams got here in averaging the fifth most points per game amongst all rookies this season.

Quotes of the Night

Mark Daigneault: “There’s volatility with shooting, but there’s also numerous things you may control. I didn’t think we did the stuff that we are able to control defensively, early especially. Loads of shooting comes right down to rhythm and confidence and I believed they were capable of sort of drum up some rhythm and confidence early in the sport. These are good players, good shooters, so it’s hard to show them off at that time.”

Aaron Wiggins: “The game is not over until the clock hits zeros across the board. So whatever the rating, whatever the energy, our mindsets towards anything you bought to play through the buzzer.”

Josh Giddey: “Credit to them (the Rockets), but we just we needed to get the automotive back on the road a bit sooner than what we tried to do. But we fought for the entire 48 minutes. We tried to make run late in that fourth, but we dug ourselves too deep of a hole to get out of.” 

What’s Next

The Thunder’s quick two-game road swing continues with a visit to Latest Orleans to tackle the Pelicans on Monday. It’ll be the third game in 4 nights for OKC before returning home. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CT.

Saturday’s Photos

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