(Photo by Getty Images)
Tonight’s highly anticipated matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets featured two Western Conference teams currently playing at very high levels. Houston came in winning 20 of their last 23 games,while Okc winning 10 of their last 13, currently riding a four game win streak. While facing off for the first time, the Rockets & Thunder kept it a close game all game long….with OKC coming out victorious 112-107.
Although both teams played really well, the biggest difference maker was the Thunder’s big 3 and how they shot the ball. Carmelo Anthony went for 20 points, 5 rebounds, while shooting 8-12 & 2-4 from 3. Paul George put up a solid stat line with 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, shooting 8-15 & 4-7 from deep. Westbrook had a solid double double with 31 points and 10 assists, shooting 12-24 on the night & 7-8 from the line. Adams also made a huge first half contribution with 15 points and 8 rebounds at the half. Roberson also showed why he is an all-NBA defender while locking down James Harden for majority of the game, especially in the first half. Harden was a dismal 1-8 from the field, & shot 7-18 for the night, but 8-9 from the line.
Although finishing the game with a loss, the Rockets did receive solid nights from Capela (19 points, 10 rebounds) Eric Gordon (20 points) & the early MVP candidate James Harden (29 points, 8 rebounds, 14 assists) although having a rough start to the game.
KEY MATCHUPS: Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden:
The first & second place MVP candidates last year both started off slow in their first matchup against one another. Westbrook started the game 0-6, with Harden going 1-8 in the first half. They both seemed to catch their rhythm in the third quarter with Russ going 5-5 & Harden nailing two 3s to go along with some nice drives.
Steven Adams vs. Clint Capela:
Both of these young centers are having career years playing along side their teams filled with All-Stars. Facing off for the first time, both Adams & Capela seemed to hold their ground & control the paint for their teams. Adams was hot in the first half, shooting 7-9 for 15 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Capela went for 10 points on 5-7 shooting with 4 rebounds.
Next up for Houston: 12/28 at Boston
Next up for OKC: 12/27 vs. Raptors
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