Last night, the Thunder took on the Houston Rockets and got beat in a low scoring game: 89-77. The game was a step in the right direction for the Thunder as many of the problems from the Bucks game were addressed. Durant scored a solid 26 points off of 11 for 20 shooting (55%) from the field. The starters contributed most of the points (59-18), and the Rockets were held to 36.4% field goal percentage.
Not all went well, and the Thunder struggled to make it to the free throw line getting just 12 attempts of which they made 9. In comparision, Tracy McGrady made 9 free throws alone. The Rockets were an amazing 87.1% from the line making 27 of 31. The 18 point differental from the line more than eclipsed the 12 point difference in the overall score. In addition, OKC made no three pointers (attempted only 4!) while the Rockets hit 6. With those numbers, it's amazing that the Thunder were anywhere in this game.
The biggest heartbreaker for us Thunder fans must have been the start of the fourth quarter. Trailing by 7 going into the fourth, the Rockets went on an 8-0 tear, and OKC was never able to recover.
After losing last night to the only team they beat in the preseason, tonight the Thunder look to extract some preseason revenge against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The preseason game was one of extremes as the two teams took turns blowing each other out. Unfortunately, the Thunder let the Timberwolves blow them out in two quarters compared to one, and the Timberwolves notched the victory.
Tonight's game has the potential to be a different story. Minnesota was strong from the three point range in the preseason game but hasn't come close to equally that effort in the regular season. If the Timberwolves' 3 point advantage is neutralized, the Thunder have a much better chance of winning this game.
Look for the Wolves to score somewhere in the mid-90s. The Thunder are going to need to get into the triple digits to win this one. To acheive this, Durant's going to need to shoot over 50% from the field like he did against the Rockets, the team is going to need to combine for at least 45% from the field, and we're going to need more players breaking into the double digits. Against the Rockets, we had 3: Durant and two guys with 10 points (Petro and Green). That kind of team performance isn't going to cut it against anyone.
At a minimum, the Thunder need to score at least 90 in this game just to prove that we can. This will be our second showing this season in front of the home crowd, and the team needs to give the fans something to cheer about.