Williams scores 19; Thunder win rematch with Rockets 104-87
By CLIFF BRUNT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kenrich Williams scored 19 points Wednesday night, and the Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back from a 30-point loss to Houston two days earlier and beat the Rockets 104-87.
Darius Bazley had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, Al Horford scored 17 points and Hamidou Diallo added 16 for the Thunder. Oklahoma City had allowed 147 and 136 points in its previous two games - both losses. On Wednesday, the Thunder allowed a season-low point total.
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said his team had the right approach heading into the rematch.
"I give our guys credit not getting too emotional after that last game," he said. "No one likes losing by 30 and giving up 130. But I don't think we got too low after that one, just like we won't get too high after this one. But they really came in with a clean slate and wanted to learn."
The Rockets scored a season high for points on Monday and a season low on Wednesday. Houston made a franchise record 28 3-pointers on 52 attempts on Monday, but connected on just 12 of 46 in the rematch.
Eric Gordon scored 22 points and Victor Oladipo added 19 for the Rockets, whose win streak ended at six games. Christian Wood, who entered the night averaging 23.3 points and 10.7 rebounds, finished with eight points and six rebounds in 22 minutes,
"When you're not making shots, you've got to play a little bit harder on defense and figure out ways to create a little bit easier opportunities on offense," Gordon said. "The energy just wasn't there. We missed a ton of shots to where we just couldn't really get in a groove."
Rockets guard John Wall and Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed Wednesday's rematch. Wall, who averages 17.8 points and 5.8 assists, rested on the first half of a back-to-back with the Memphis Grizzlies on tap on Thursday. Gilgeous-Alexander, who leads the Thunder with 21.8 points and 6.3 assists, sat out with a left knee sprain. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said it wasn't too serious and the team was being cautious.
The Rockets made 11 3-pointers in the first quarter on Monday, tying the NBA record for a quarter. On Wednesday, they trailed 54-43 at halftime, scoring a season low for points in a first half and making just 6 of 25 3s.
Houston made a brief surge early in the third quarter, but the Thunder fought it off. Diallo's breakaway two-handed dunk gave Oklahoma City a 68-52 lead, and the Thunder extended their advantage to 81-58 at the end of the third quarter.
Rockets: Gordon was called for a technical in the second quarter. ... Coach Stephen Silas was called for a technical in the third quarter. ... F P.J. Tucker did not score in 25 minutes.
Thunder: Oklahoma City announced Tuesday that starting point guard George Hill would miss at least four weeks with a thumb injury. ... Thunder G Lu Dort left the game in the first quarter with left knee soreness and did not return. Daigneault did not have an update after the game. ... Held the Rockets to 38.4% shooting. ... F Isaiah Roby scored 13 points and made 6 of 9 shots.
Daigneault on playing without three regular starters for most of the game: "This is a pretty normal occurrence. Everybody's going to go through it at some point and we're going through it right now. But I give the guys who stayed ready credit, the guys who stepped into different roles -- I give them credit."
Oladipo, a former Thunder player, made just 8 of 24 shots, including 1 of 8 3-pointers. ... Thunder reserves scored 47 points to Houston's 32. ... Oklahoma City had 21 turnovers and Houston had 20.
The Rockets visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.
The Thunder host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
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Updated February 3, 2021