Tue, 25 Jan 2022

Suddenly hot Rockets, slumping Thunder to meet in first of two

Field Level Media
29 Nov 2021, 07:05 GMT+10

The Houston Rockets have won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The Rockets, who possess an NBA-worst 3-16 record, will look to increase their modest winning streak to three when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in the first of a home-and-home set between the teams.

Houston had dropped 15 straight games before winning the first two contests of a three-game homestand.

The Rockets halted their skid with an impressive 118-113 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and followed up with a 146-143 overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

Christian Wood starred against the Hornets with a career-high 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting to go with 16 rebounds.

"It feels great to get a win," Wood told reporters after Saturday's triumph. "We went a month without winning a game. We haven't seen that winning energy in the locker room so it's good to see it. Now we have that winning momentum, and we need to just carry it over."

Wood had plenty of help from his teammates as Kevin Porter Jr. contributed 23 points and 12 assists, Eric Gordon recorded 22 points and seven assists and Garrison Mathews scored 20 points.

The Rockets were hot from outside, making 23 of 49 shots from behind the arc.

"We were moving the ball, taking open shots and making open shots," Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. "Once a few go, you're feeling a lot more confident about shooting your shot. We're feeling pretty confident shooting right now."

Also, five-time All-Star John Wall has approached the team about playing in games. The oft-injured Wall and the rebuilding club previously agreed that he wouldn't take the court while the team attempted to trade him.

One sticking point per a trade has been Wall's contract -- he is making $44.3 million this season and has a player option of $47.3 million for the 2022-23 season. A second sticking point about the guard's potential return to the team: Wall reportedly wants to start while the Rockets want him to come off the bench.

The Rockets and Thunder split two meetings earlier this season. Houston routed the visiting Thunder 124-91 behind Wood's 31 points and 14 rebounds on Oct. 22 while Oklahoma City registered a 101-89 home win on Nov. 17 as Luguentz Dort scored a season-high 34 points for the Thunder.

While the Thunder have been slumping with five straight losses and seven in eight games, Dort has been playing solidly. He has scored at least 20 points in seven of the past 10 games and is averaging 21.2 during the span.

Dort scored 21 points in Friday's 101-99 home loss to the Washington Wizards. Oklahoma City had a chance for a victory, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's 3-pointer was in-and-out as time expired.

"We've been in a lot of these and we're gonna learn over time how to close out late games," first-round pick Josh Giddey said afterward. "Though it hurts now to lose these tight ones, we'll grow from it. The good thing about the NBA is you can't dwell on one game. We've got a game in two nights."

Gilgeous-Alexander recorded 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds after missing two games with a right ankle injury.

"He's our best player and it's always nice to play with our best player," Dort said. "I felt like he did a good job just getting the team going, moving the ball. Shai is always doing his thing and it was just great to have him back with us."

The two teams also will play Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

--Field Level Media

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