It was a tale of two halves. And the second half of this tale was brutal. Rockets lose in face-palming fashion.
Well I was at the game tonight and I wanted to spend some time talking about the overall experience and the temperament of the crowd and what not. At half time I was imagining a joyous recap where you and I put flowers in our hair and skipped through the center of town, stepping on the lifeless bodies of our OKC adversaries, and distributing smiles to the townspeople. Alas, such things did not come to fruition.
Parking is pretty easy around Toyota Center and my friend and I found $10 parking only two blocks away. I urge you NEVER pay that $30 parking malarkey. Go one more block or two and spend that extra $10 bucks on half a beer. All of the lines moved fast, we were on the second deck, 40-ish yardline and in my opinion those are pretty good basketball watching seats.
The Rockets marketing team put together an awesome “History of the Rockets” video that gave me chills (T-Mac’s 13 in 33 seconds gets me every time). Then the pump up and the introductions were next.
OKC traveled pretty decently. I also think Durant’s Longhorn past probably had something to do with it.
The Rockets crowd wasn’t bad necessarily but you could pretty clearly hear the Red Rowdies the whole game. During the introductions Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones got a little bit of love, but when Chandler Parsons was announced it sounded like the Beatles had just burst on to the stage. The high pitch shrieks of female voices filled the air as their male counterparts turn to each other to say, “What? He’s not that good looking!” But deep down, they know.
And then there was basketball.
It’s easy to have a good offense if you’re shooting well. And although the Rockets were doing just that, they still looked out classed from the beginning. The Thunder were getting easy shots because of the absolute dominance that Kevin Durant brings to the floor but everything the Rockets did seemed difficult.
Houston tried to establish Howard down low first and that worked to an extent but as was the case for most of the night, if Howard beat his man, Ibaka was always waiting with the help defense. OKC put a LOT of emphasis on clogging the lane when Howard was the number one offensive option. Combine that with the foul trouble that Kendrick Perkins got him in and Howard was largely neutralized.
One more negative before the positive. Jeremy Lin played terrible tonight. He had zero confidence in anything he was trying to accomplish and thats Jeremy’s recipe for disaster. Aaron Brooks filled in well at first but then also fell apart.
After a three pointer from both Francisco Garcia and D-Mo, the Rockets ended the first with a four point deficit; 32-36.
Accurate three point shooting cures all ailments. The Rockets could not miss from long range and everything seemed to be flowing effortlessly. However the Rockets still weren’t getting any easy shots, but now they were hitting all the hard ones. The Rockets went 9-14 from three in the second quarter and 12 of 20 for the first half. D-Mo was 3-4 from long distance so you know some weird juju was hanging in the air. The Thunder continued to play their style all the way through the quarter but it didn’t matter because the Rockets hit an overwhelmingly large amount of shots.
The Rockets aren’t in a shooting slump folks. They just aren’t that good at shooting in large sample sizes. The regression monster hit them in the second half and it hit them HARD. The Rockets led 73-59 at the break and like I said, had hit 12 threes at that point. We didn’t know it yet but the Rockets had hit their last three of the night.
Out of the break both teams started off very cold. That is until Durant decided to turn up the heat. Chandler Parsons drew the defensive matchup tonight and overall he did a fantastic job. But every time he timed something right or correctly anticipated Durant’s move, Durant made it over him anyways.
Being Durant’s cover is one of the least desirable jobs in sports. It is second only to being Johnny Manziel’s QB spy. It’s a lose-lose situation for you son, so just hope you get to cover Aminu the next night…or Case McCoy
To make a long story short, the Rockets scored 19 points in the second half. NINETEEN.
The Rockets tied Durant’s output in the third quarter (10 points), but unfortunately its a 5 man team so at the end of third is was tied at 83-83 and the Rockets had just gone 3-17. On top of ALL that, they stopped serving beer at the end of the third so the mood was especially desperate.
Hey but a positive attitude breeds positive results so, “alright, well at least we got that out of our system time to turn it on boys!”
The Rockets scored 9 points in the fourth and the Thunder strolled to a victory in a game that is truly hard to comprehend. How does a team score 73 in a half and then follow up with 19?! I feel like they could accidentally score more than 19 on most nights.
The Thunder pick and rolled us to death throughout the game, and they especially picked on our power forwards. D-Mo and TJ were helpless against Ibaka in the P-R. Durant, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson; all of them ran it to perfection and easy buckets were plentiful.
Rockets lose 104-92.
The statistical nitty gritty is here.
The Rockets do it again on Saturday against the lowly Bucks at 7PM CST.