As his team sat in the Toyota Center visitor’s locker room, Thunder coach Scott Brooks made his team watch them all.
Aaron Brooks from the right corner.
Francisco Garcia from the right wing.
Donatas Montiejunas from up top and then from the right corner.
And on and on it went. By the time it was over, the Thunder got to re-watch all 12 of Rockets three pointers, nine of which came in a 41-point second quarter of a 73-point first half.
“There were some where we made some mistakes in our switching, there were some that we made some mistakes in our communication in transition, and there were some where we just got beat off the drive on the kick-outs,” Brooks said. “But there were some that they made tough shots, but that’s what they do.”
They didn’t do it after halftime. Houston became the first team in the shot clock era to score at least 70 points in the first half, and then fail to score 20 in the second half. After knocking down 12 of 19 three pointers in the game’s first 24 minutes, they missed all 14 they hoisted in the last 24 minutes, and a 73-59 halftime lead turned into a 104-92 loss.
“We just said that they weren’t going to stay hot,” Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said. “They hit (12) threes in the first half, so we said we gonna hope they miss or we’re gonna make ‘em miss.”
The Rockets missed some open looks from deep, but that isn’t the only reason why they couldn’t muster 20 points in the half. Oklahoma City’s defense deserves a lot of credit. It isn’t like Houston settled for jump shots every time down the floor.
In the first half, the Rockets took 24 shots in the paint; they made 14 of them. They only took four less in the second half, but made just six, including making just four of 14 shots near the rim. Oklahoma City blocked six shots in the second, and they also kept the Rockets off the glass.
Entering the game, Houston was getting the offensive rebound on close to 27 percent of it’s misses, in the second half on Thursday it grabbed six offensive rebounds on 29 missed shots. The 27 percent has them in the top 10; the 20.8 percent number from Thursday’s second half would be second worst.
“That was a clinic that we put on (in the second half),” Perkins said. “It’s the best I’ve seen us play in a long time on the defensive end, and we are a pretty good defensive team.”
When you play a great team that has been together for a long time and has won a lot the worst thing you can do is jump on them early. The Rockets did that on Thursday, and after having to watch the destruction at halftime, the Thunder pride kicked in. They’re 29-10 for a reason.Follow @AdamSpolane
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