EditorsNote: rewords sixth and seventh grafs
Paul George had 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder won their seventh consecutive game, beating the visiting Houston Rockets 98-80 on Thursday night.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak by the Rockets, who were led by James Harden’s 19 points. However, Harden shot just 7 of 19 from the floor and 4 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc.
Houston’s 80-point scoring effort was the lowest for an NBA team this season.
Steven Adams added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, while Terrance Ferguson hit four 3-pointers en route to 14 points.
Both teams struggled from 3-point range, though. Oklahoma City was 9 of 37 (24.3 percent) from beyond the arc while Houston was 11 of 42 (26.2 percent).
The Thunder were without Russell Westbrook for the second consecutive game after he sprained his left ankle Monday in a win over New Orleans.
But while the Thunder looked lost at times without Westbrook during the season’s first two games as the star point guard was recovering from offseason knee surgery, Oklahoma City used defensive intensity to find a way to win without him this time around, holding the Rockets to just 37.8 percent shooting from the field.
George also had six steals and six assists.
Oklahoma City closed out each of the first three quarters strong.
The Thunder scored the final 10 points of the first quarter to take a 29-19 lead, then finished the second with a 21-6 run to lead by 14 at the break.
The third was low-scoring overall, but Oklahoma City still outscored the Rockets 14-5 over the final seven minutes to take a 20-point lead going into the fourth.
The game was the first for Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City since he left the Thunder in an offseason trade, which wound up with him being bought out and eventually signing in Houston. He scored just two points, going 1 of 11 from the field in 20 minutes.
—Field Level Media