Harden gets last laugh as Rockets top Thunder
Send a link to a friend
[January 06, 2017]
(The Sports Xchange) - Russell
Westbrook repeatedly had his way with the Rockets defense, torching
it to the tune of a Toyota Center scoring record for an opponent
before three late misses set the table for James Harden to play the
role of facilitator at the most opportune time for Houston.
Nene corralled a pass from Harden, absorbed a foul, and sank two
free throws with 0.7 seconds left as the Houston Rockets eked out a
118-116 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
Off an inbounds play originating with 3.8 seconds left, Nene set a
screen for Harden and rolled to the rim. Harden followed by passing
out of the double team, hitting Nene in stride and forcing Thunder
forward Jerami Grant to commit the foul. Nene finished with a
season-high 18 points over 17 minutes.
"They (the Thunder) did a good job (setting up defensively) on the
first play so we called a timeout," Harden said. "I just got open
and I saw two defenders guarding me, made the simple play to Nene
and he knocked down two free throws."
Harden posted 26 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists. All five
Rockets starters scored in double figures, including guard Patrick
Beverley (11 points, eight rebounds). Eric Gordon scored 22 off the
The Rockets (28-9) regained possession after Westbrook missed a
pull-up jumper with 5.7 seconds left, his third consecutive errant
shot following a 3-pointer that cut the Houston lead to 114-113 with
Westbrook scored 49 points, sinking a career-best eight 3-pointers.
He added eight rebounds and five assists for the Thunder (21-16),
which has lost four of five games and three in succession. Houston
took a 2-1 season-series lead against the Thunder, with all three
contests decided by one possession.
[to top of second column]
Rockets guard James Harden (13) looks on after the Houston Rockets
defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center. Houston Rockets
won 118 to 116 .Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
fun, definitely fun," Rockets forward Trevor Ariza said. "It's all
you can ask for: a hard-fought game and we get the win at the end of
After the Rockets erased a 14-point deficit with a 25-point
turnaround in the first half, the Thunder returned the favor by
wiping away an 85-67 third-quarter deficit. Victor Oladipo (17
points) capped the rally with a corner 3 for a 116-114 lead at the
1:55 mark. The Thunder bludgeoned the Rockets on the boards in the
fourth, chipping away behind Enes Kanter (15 points, 13 rebounds)
Westbrook scored nine points in the period and Oklahoma City turned
six offensive rebounds into eight second-chance points in the
fourth. But Westbrook missed 6 of 8 shots in the quarter as the
Thunder failed to maintain the momentum that sprung from its long,
methodical push to the lead.
"There is nothing to take you through," Westbrook said of his final
attempt. "I missed the shot."
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.