9:30 PM ET, January 16, 2014
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Thunder prevail after Rockets set record for futility in 2nd half
HOUSTON -- Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks showed his team each of the 12 3-pointers Houston made in its 73-point first half Thursday night.
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The halftime video session worked. The Rockets didn't make another 3, and were held to a franchise-low in points in the second half of the Thunder's 104-92 win.
James Harden and Terrence Jones scored 16 points apiece for Houston, which had just 19 second-half points after its season-best performance in the first half -- setting an NBA record for the largest scoring differential between two halves. Houston's 19-point second half is tied for the second-fewest points in a second half in NBA history.
"I've never seen anything like that," Brooks said. "That's inspiring."
Houston coach Kevin McHale was troubled by his team's inability to build on its great first half.
"We had a terrible time shooting the ball, laying it in, making simple plays," McHale said. "We couldn't sustain anything offensively in the second half. Give them credit. They got out and got after us."
The Rockets took to Twitter after the game to add some levity to the situation:
First half = Godfather 1 & 2. Second half = Godfather 3.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 17, 2014
The Thunder used a big third quarter to erase a 12-point deficit and tie the score entering the fourth. The teams stayed within a basket after that until Jackson scored five points in a 7-0 run which gave the Thunder a 97-89 lead with about 4 minutes left.
Oklahoma City stretched its advantage to 103-92 on a fast-break dunk by Jackson with 1:18 to go.
Durant shook his head when asked about the vast difference in Oklahoma City's defense after halftime. Along with shutting down Houston's 3-point shooting, the Thunder also held Harden scoreless after the break.
"We were able to come down and stifle them a little bit and get them out of their rhythm," Durant said. "They're a great offensive team. They score the ball so quickly. I think we did a great job of just putting pressure on them."
Oklahoma City was up by eight when Houston's Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins got tangled up fighting for a rebound. The two had to be separated and Perkins received a personal foul and they both were slapped with technicals for the scuffle.
Serge Ibaka added 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder. Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets.
It was truly a tale of two halves for the Rockets on Thursday. After scoring 73 points in the first half, they were held to just 19 in the second frame. That 54-point disparity is the largest in NBA history.
|1st Half||2nd Half|
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
Jeremy Lamb's 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter made it 86-85, giving Oklahoma City its first lead since early in the second quarter. The teams each scored a basket after that before both offenses went silent, with neither team scoring for about a 3-minute span.
Jackson ended Oklahoma City's scoring drought with a reverse layup with about 7 minutes remaining before Chandler Parsons ended Houston's with a bucket about a minute later to cut the Thunder's lead to 90-89.
The Rockets had a 12-point lead with about 4 minutes left in the third quarter before Oklahoma City went on a 15-3 run to tie it at 83 entering the final period. Ibaka scored four quick points to get the spurt going and also had a 3-pointer in that span.
Durant had the big finish for the run, taking Parsons off the dribble and pulling up to sink a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Durant fell backward to the court after the shot and flipped over before getting up wearing a huge grin as he was mobbed by teammates.
After matching a season high with 41 points in the second quarter, the Rockets had a terrible third, scoring just 10 points, and their nine points in the fourth were a season low.
The Thunder led by seven in the second quarter before Houston got going. The Rockets used a 9-0 run, powered by four points from Jones, to take a 43-41 lead with about 8 minutes left in the quarter. Harden had a nifty play near the end of that run when he hit an off-balance layup before crashing to the court.
Houston capped the 41-point quarter with a 13-1 spurt to take a 73-59 lead into halftime. Parsons hit two 3s in that run and Donatas Motiejunas added a third.
Durant was having a tough first quarter and had three turnovers before getting going in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the period. He scored all nine of the Thunder's last points of the quarter to leave Oklahoma City up 36-32 entering the second.
He had two dunks and was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws in that span.
Houston's 73 points in the first half were a season high for a half. ... McHale received a technical foul for arguing with the officials in the second quarter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 16: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets is announced before the game against the...(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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MVP: With Russell Westbrook out, could there be any doubt? Kevin Durant scored 36 points to go with seven assists and five rebounds while guarding James Harden down the stretch. Honorable mention to Serge Ibaka, who piled up 21 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.
That was ... feast and famine: The Rockets poured in a staggering 73 first-half points, including 41 in the second quarter. After the break, Houston managed just 19 more. The difference was good for an NBA record.
X factor: Three-point shooting. In the first half, Oklahoma City missed all of its attempts from behind the arc, while Houston made a whopping 12-of-20. In the second half the Rockets miss all 14 of their attempts.
Next 5 Games
The Rockets turned in perhaps the most bizarre performance in NBA history. After scoring 73 in the 1st half, they were held to just 19 in the 2nd half. FROM ELIAS: That 54-point disparity is the largest in a game in NBA history.[+]
Crash Landing - Rockets vs Thunder on
From Elias: The Rockets scored a season-high 73 points in the 1st half, and a season-low 19 points in the 2nd half. That 54-point disparity is the largest by a team in a game in NBA history.
The Rockets shot 19.4% in the 2nd half (7-36)... It's their lowest FG pct in a half in at least the past 18 seasons (since the start of the 1996-97 season, as far back as we have play-by-play data from the NBA).
The Rockets got outscored 24-10 in the 3rd quarter, the fewest points they've scored in any quarter this season (they led by 14 at halftime)
Lost in the Rockets epic collapse on Thursday was another strong game from Terrence Jones, who turned in his 3rd double-double in his last 4 games with 16 points & 13 rebounds. That's continued a step forward for him this season.[+]
From Elias: Rockets are 4th team in shot-clock era to score 10 points or fewer in consecutive quarters and the 1st team in the shot clock era to score 40 or more points in a quarter and then score 10 points or fewer in each of the next two quarters.
The Rockets scored 73 points in the first half, their most in any half this season and the third most by any NBA team.
ESPN Stats & Information
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