Houston shot just 37.8 percent from the floor and struggled all night long. The team’s three leading scorers, James Harden, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony, combined for just 31 points on 12-41 shooting.
In particular, Melo had his worst game in Rockets red, scoring just two points on 1-11 shooting, and the two points came on a goaltend, so Melo did not make a single shot in the entire ballgame. He’d been hot over the last six games, averaging over 17 points per game, but tonight was a really bad outlier.
CP3 also had nothing to show for himself. However, his poor performance is not as much of an outlier. It’s becoming a pattern. For the third consecutive game, he went scoreless in the first half. That’s scary to see your team’s second scoring option go completely cold for a string of games. It would be one thing if it was one game. However, CP3 has yet to find his rhythm and his role since his suspension, and if it is not resolved soon, it will become an issue.
The Rockets started off the game cold, but found some rhythm in the first half of the second quarter. The team went on a 20-9 run to capture their first lead of the game at 39-38 with six minutes left in the quarter. However, the Thunder bounced back and took the lead for good. The lead ballooned to as much as 20, and it deflated any hopes the Rockets had in coming back in the game.
On the defensive end, it was not pretty either. Though the Rockets held the Thunder to double digits and just 44.4 percent shooting, the team was killed on the glass. Oklahoma City outrebounded Houston 52-39 and rarely gave the Rockets a second chance to score on their offensive possessions.
Tonight, the Rockets simply could not get their shots to fall. But they were also unable to make up for it on the defensive end. And ultimately that’s why the Rockets never truly stood a chance in this contest. The Thunder were simply the superior team tonight and the Rockets did not really decide to do anything about it.
With Russell Westbrook sitting with an injury, Paul George had a game-high 20 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and six steals. Yes, he led both teams in all four of those categories. He was the only offensive playmaker that had a strong game. He was able to set his teammates up nicely and six Thunder players ended the game with double digits in scoring.
Just when we all thought the Rockets were taking steps forward, it seems that they have taken two steps back. Tonight’s play was more indicative of the first six games of the season with lethargy on offense and mediocrity on defense.
The Rockets finish out their road trip in San Antonio on Saturday against the Spurs. Tipoff is at 7:30 PM CT.