On January 17, 2014, two of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) hottest teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets, met in Space City to face one another in a heated battle. Oklahoma City lost its All-Star Point Guard, Russell Westbrook, a few weeks ago to his third knee surgery in nine months. According to SportingNews.com, Westbrook was averaging 21.3 points, seven assists, and six rebounds per game before he was ruled out. This meant that the rest of the Thunder roster needed to step up in place of their injured teammate, especially Kevin Durant.
The first half was dominated by the Rockets, who shot 57% from the field while nailing 12 of 20 behind-the-arc attempts. The momentum was completely in the young Houston team’s favor, who held a convincing 73-59 lead at half time. Though the Thunder had failed to drain any three-point shots, they were not intimidated by the opposing team’s performance. They came out of the locker room with a whole new approach to start the second half.
As the game resumed, Oklahoma City’s defense began to pick up; Serge Ibaka had 5 blocks to lead the efforts as the Rockets were held to only 10 points in the third quarter. In addition, the three-pointers began to commence when Derek Fisher sunk one from deep behind the arc. Durant made another one to tie the game at 83.
The fourth quarter was another scoring disaster for the Rockets, only putting up nine points. Oklahoma City came up with 21 in the quarter to finish Houston 104-92. From scoring 73 points to only 19 between halves, the Rockets set a new NBA record for the biggest point differential in a game. If Houston wants to become a legit NBA-Title contender, they will have to step up their efforts in order to play through an extremely competitive Western Conference.