“We better not lose”- said Paul George before the game with Houston Rockets. He was right. If Thunder lost this game they would drop to 9th place with two games in hand and then they needed other teams to lose so they could get their spot back. That is never a good choice. So Thunder needed this victory against the best team in the NBA. A team who won 20 consecutive games at home.
And they fully delivered. Rockets gave them a hard time, as expected of the team their caliber. Thunder was down at halftime, and they were losing, even more, entering the final quarter. Just 7 before the end Thunder were still losing by 1 point. But then the Thunder train started to roll. Westbrook and company scored next 11 points.
Great offense on one end, and even better defense on the other end. Russell Westbrook took care of Harden, he was brilliant, Harden didn’t know what going on. As the rest of the Rockets. They went scoreless for about 4 minutes, committed 3 turnovers and Thunder blocked 3 shots in that period. Russell Westbrook was scoring on the other end, and Paul George confirmed the victory with two free throws.
Finally “the Big 3” played a good game. George and Melo were struggling for the past month. Shooting was poor, under 30% beyond the arc, the defense was terrible but when Thunder needed them the most they delivered. George scored 24 points with 6 rebounds and Melo added 22 on the scoresheet.Russell Westbrook played brilliant defense and managed to score 24 with 10 assists.
Harden scored 26 with 9 assists for the Rockets and Paul added 17 points.