The Thunder's 41 Fourth-Quarter Points are a Problem for Houston
Dennis Schroder continues his campaign for the sixth man of the year. Monday, with the Thunder up 108-107, it was Schroder's pull-up jumper that finished off the Rockets, helping Oklahoma City to a 112-107 win.
It was a win that saw the Thunder trailing by 16 points going into the final twelve minutes. By now, we should know that you never count this team out. The Thunder scored 41 in the fourth, overcoming that 16 point deficit courtesy of Schroder's 15 points aided by Danilo Gallinari's 12 points. Shai Gilegous-Alexander continues to impact the game every time he steps on the floor. Gilgeous-Alexander not only had a 13 point afternoon, but his biggest contribution came with 1:13 left when he stole the ball from James Harden and dunked on the other end. That dunk put the Thunder up for good, improving their record to 25-19.
Before tipoff, on Monday afternoon, the short-handed Thunder got bad news when Nerlens Noel was a late scratch with left ankle soreness. Not even 90 seconds into the contest, things would get worse. Steven Adams was forced to head to the training room with a sprained left ankle after Clint Capela's flagrant one. Adams would come back to take both free-throws, but, that would be the last time he took the floor. Without Noel and Justin Patton on assignment with the Blue, Mike Muscala and Gallinari were forced to play the five.
Even with Capela spending most of the game in foul trouble the Rockets were able to take advantage of the Thunder's small lineup, scoring in 64 the paint. That's a stat Billy Donovan can live with considering Lugentz Dort had to start for Terrence Ferguson, who is missing his second straight game. Dort and everyone else who took a turn guarding James Harden held him to 1-17 shooting from three. Harden finished with 29 points on 29 shots. Russell Westbrook hit the Thunder for 32, 11 and 12. This give Westbrook a triple-double against every team in the NBA, still in the end it didn’t matter.
Oklahoma City wins the series 2-1 and now travel to the Magic Kingdom to face the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. Game time is 6 pm on Fox Sports Oklahoma.