Instant Replay: Rockets lose big to Thunder

Instant Replay: Rockets lose big to Thunder
December 29, 2013, 8:00 pm
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Highlights: Rockets fall to Thunder in OKC

The Oklahoma City Thunder, even without Russell Westbrook, are a formidable opponent. They proved that from start to finish on Sunday night beating the Rockets 117-86 over the Rockets to maintain their spot atop the western conference.

It was the Rockets fourth game in five nights and the conclusion of their ninth back-to-back set of games already this season. This was just the second time they've lost on the second night of a back-to-back. They had little chance in this one after failing to score for the first 6:33 of the game and trailed by as many as 17 points in the first quarter.

Aaron Brooks came off the bench to lead the Rockets in scoring with 17 points, but the team shot only 36.5 percent from the floor, made just seven of 28 3-pointers and could not hit their free throws either. They made just 17-of-21 free throws, the third time in their last seven games, they've shot under 60 percent from the free throw line.

The game was over when

The Rockets missed their first 12 shots from the floor and were down 13-0 with half of the first quarter already gone. They Rockets never got any closer than nine points the rest of the game.

Highlight of the night

Not too much to choose from, but Aaron Brooks launched a 50-footer at the end of the third quarter and it caught nothing but net. That was the good news, the bad news is it only cut the Rockets deficit to 20 heading to the fourth quarter.

Numbers of the night
The Rockets starters scored only 40 points, their fewest of the season. The bench scored 46 points.

Next up
The Rockets will play their annual New Years Eve game at Toyota Center. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings beat the Rockets in Sacramento earlier this year, 106-91. That was Rudy Gay's first game with Sacramento, after being acquired via trade from the Raptors, and he led all scorers with 26 points. James Harden had 25 points, despite spraining his ankle when he stepped on Ben McLemore's foot.