Luguentz Dort scored 23 points and blocked a layup in the waning moments as the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder held on for a 114-112 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Rockets guard John Wall initially beat Dort off the dribble only for the latter to recover defensively and record the block to preserve a one-point lead. Aleksej Pokusevski (nine points, nine rebounds) snagged the rebound and split a pair of free throws before Wall missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Rockets to their 20th consecutive loss, extending their franchise mark.
Wall converted a floater with 2:26 remaining to give the Rockets a 110-109 lead, their first since the 4:22 mark of the first quarter. But Theo Maledon (12 points) scored twice late for the Thunder while Wall and Jae’Sean Tate missed free throws down the stretch for Houston.
Oklahoma City, playing without starters Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley and Al Horford, had six players score in double figures. Moses Brown posted a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds while Isaiah Roby had 18 points and eight boards. Justin Jackson and Svi Mykhailiuk scored 15 points apiece off the Thunder bench.
Christian Wood paired a game-high 27 points with eight boards while Wall chipped in 24 points and seven assists. Victor Oladipo posted 23 points and six assists and Danuel House Jr. added 18 points on 3-of-4 3-point shooting for the Rockets, who snapped a string of 12 consecutive double-digit losses. The Rockets did trail by double digits for a 20th consecutive game.
Oklahoma City closed a first quarter that featured four ties and two lead changes with a 9-0 run and carried a 31-22 lead into the second. That rally followed a Wall 3-pointer – the lone 3 of the period for Houston and one that took seven bounces on the rim before dropping – and included a Roby three-point play and a Jackson 3-pointer. Dort and Roby scored nine points apiece.
The Rockets drilled eight 3s in the second to close what was a 13-point deficit to 66-62 at the break. The Thunder shot 55.6 percent prior to the intermission, including 8 of 18 from behind the arc.
–Field Level Media