The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 17, 2014

Thunder rally for 104-92 win over Rockets


Associated Press

HOUSTON — Kevin Durant scored 36 points and Reggie Jackson added 23 to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-92 win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

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 scored four quick points capped by a fast break dunk by Jackson a couple minutes later to stretch the lead to 103-92.

James Harden and Terrence Jones scored 16 points each for Houston, which scored just 19 second-half points after posting a season-high 73 points in the first half — setting an NBA record for the largest scoring differential between two halves.

Oklahoma City was up by eight points when 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 had 15 rebounds for the Thunder. Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds for Houston.

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.

Steven Adams and Howard both received technical fouls when they pushed each other with about 9 minutes left.

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-all entering the final period. Serge Ibaka scored four quick points to get the spurt going and also had a 3-pointer in that span. But it was Durant who capped it in style, 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 quarter, 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.

But that run was just the beginning of their big second quarter, as they then hit four 3s in a 2 1/2-minute span to extend their lead to 55-45. Aaron Brooks and Harden both hit two 3s apiece in that stretch.

Oklahoma City had got within two a few minutes later, but Houston capped the 41-point quarter with a 13-1 spurt to take a 73-59 lead into halftime. Chandler 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.

NOTES: Houston’s 73 points in the first half were a season-high for a half. ... Rockets coach Kevin McHale received a technical foul for arguing with the officials in the second quarter.