Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 31, 2012

Thunder shoots down Rockets

HOUSTON — Russell Westbrook scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 26 as the Oklahoma City Thunder built a big lead in the second quarter and rolled to a 124-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

Durant scored 11 points during a 16-0 run by the Thunder to end the first half and extend the lead to 18. Oklahoma City had another big run early in the third quarter to put the game further out of reach.

Former Thunder sixth man James Harden scored 25 for the Rockets, who went cold on offense for long stretches.

It was Oklahoma City’s second win this season over Houston, after taking the first meeting 120-98.

Kevin Martin, who came to Oklahoma City in the trade for Harden, finished 19 points and five 3-pointers. Westbrook had eight rebounds and eight assists.

Marcus Morris scored a career-high 24 points for Houston.

Oklahoma City was up by six before the Rockets used an 8-4 spurt to close the gap to 52-50 with 4 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Thunder took control after that, scoring the last 16 points of the half to extend their lead to 68-50 at the break. Durant got it going, scoring the first eight points in that span. He also finished it off, sinking a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the quarter.

All but five of Durant’s 16 first-half points came in that stretch.

The Rockets couldn’t do anything right during that time, committing four turnovers and missing six shots.

Houston had cut its 18-point halftime deficit to 13 early in the third quarter before it hit another scoring drought, going more than 5 minutes without a field goal.

Harden made one free throw during that span as the Thunder added 17 points to pad the lead to 87-58.

Houston had five shots blocked in that stretch. The problems started when Kendrick Perkins blocked two layups by Chandler Parsons 3 seconds apart. Durant blocked a jump shot by Harden the next time down the court and Thabo Sefolosha blocked a layup by Jeremy Lin about a minute later. The last one was also by Perkins, on a jump shot by Omer Asik.

Martin made two 3-pointers in less than a minute near the end of the first quarter to give the Thunder a 31-26 lead entering the second.

The Thunder were up by three points in the second quarter before using a 9-3 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Martin, to extend the lead to 44-35 about 7 minutes before halftime.

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