HOUSTON -- Kevin McHale had a talk with Kevin Martin late Tuesday night after he went scoreless for the first time in six years and was relegated to the bench for most of the second half of a loss to Memphis.
It looks as though the Houston Rockets' first-year coach got through to his star.
Martin tied a season high with 32 points, including the winning free throws with 23.6 seconds remaining, to lead the Rockets to a 96-95 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
Before the game McHale recounted the discussion they had Tuesday night.
"We've got to do a better job of trying to get you going, but you've got to do a good job of getting yourself going, too," McHale said he told Martin. "I did it for a lot of years and it's incumbent on you to go out there and get yourself going."
Martin took his advice to heart.
"When it comes to NBA basketball, we're both pretty smart, (but) he might be a little smarter than me," Martin said. "So I was listening a little bit more and it was just a great conversation especially after the last week has gone. It was a conversation we needed to have."
Kevin Durant missed three shots in the last 16 seconds and Houston finally grabbed the rebound on the last miss to secure the win. Goran Dragic missed a pair of free throws for Houston after that, but the Thunder didn't have time to get down the court for another shot.
"I got where I wanted to get, I just missed the shots," Durant said. "That's what happens. Guys can't expect you to make every shot at the end or you're setting yourself up for failure."
Martin didn't score in the fourth quarter until his free throws for the win.
"It's not even about points," he said. "Yesterday, we got beat and I was over there sitting and that wasn't pleasant. So tonight it was good to be out there and it was a total team effort."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks was disappointed with his team's 21 turnovers and its work on defending Martin.
"We did not have a handle on him all game," Brooks said. "He was aggressive, attacking our defenders and we didn't do a good job on Kevin."
Durant led the Western Conference-leading Thunder with 33 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 points.
Kyle Lowry, who finished with 11 points, cut the lead to 95-94 with a putback layup with about a minute left. Durant missed a jump shot on the other end to give Houston the ball back and set up Martin's free throws.
Houston led by five points before Oklahoma City scored seven straight -- capped by a monster dunk by Durant to take an 89-87 lead with six minutes left. He had another dunk soon after that before his alley-oop layup had Oklahoma City up 93-92 about two minutes later.
Durant has scored 25 points or more 13 times against the Rockets in his career.
James Harden, who had 17 points, scored Oklahoma City's first seven points of the fourth quarter and the teams were tied at 80 after his layup with about nine minutes remaining.
The teams exchanged the lead several times in the third quarter before Houston made it 73-70 with a 3-point play by Martin, who had 15 points in the quarter. He banked in an off-balance shot while being fouled by Durant and hit the free throw.
Players from both teams got technical fouls in the third quarter. Kendrick Perkins got one when he linked his arm in Scola's to try and slow his path to the basket with about five minutes left in the quarter. Lowry got one about 1½ minutes later when he got tangled up with Serge Ibaka while trying to get a rebound.
Martin cooled down in the second quarter after his hot shooting first quarter and the Thunder finally got their offense going.
The Rockets were up by 18 points early in the second quarter before Oklahoma City went on an 8-0 run to close the gap to 31-21 less than 10 minutes before halftime.
Oklahoma City went on a 10-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Durant after that to get within 35-31 about five minutes later.
The Thunder tied it at 42 when Samuel Dalembert was called for goaltending on a shot by Durant with a minute left in the first half.
Martin then scored his only points of the second quarter with a 3-pointer seconds later to put Houston back on top 45-42.
Martin got going early in this one, with his first basket coming on a jump shot with 9 minutes left in the first quarter that made it 6-0. A pair of 3-pointers later in the quarter gave him 10 points, pushed Houston's lead to 18-6 and had a rowdy group of fans chanting his name.
Parsons hit a 3-pointer with about 3 seconds left in the first quarter to leave the Rockets up 29-13 entering the second period.
Martin scored 28 points against Golden State on Sunday, but has struggled in his three other recent games. His 12 first-quarter points were double what he'd scored in those three outings.
Thunder G Thabo Sefolosha missed his 10th straight game with a sore right foot. Daequan Cook started in his place for the eighth straight time. ... Houston went 3-3 on the six-game road trip that ended Monday. ... Oklahoma City is 2-1 against Houston this season.
The Philadelphia 76ers are in active trade discussions with "five, six, or seven" teams, said president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo.
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