Iman Shumpert expected to make Rockets debut Saturday vs. Thunder

  • Iman Shumpert expected to make Rockets debut Saturday vs. Thunder

Iman Shumpert expected to make Rockets debut Saturday vs. Thunder

James Harden and the Houston Rockets battle Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Toyota Center on Saturday.

Westbrook had 21 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds to match the record streak set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1968.

The meeting Saturday night is the third of the season between the Rockets and Thunder with the teams splitting the series to this point as the Houston most recently defeated Oklahoma City on Christmas Day. Paul George led all scorers with 45 points (12-22 FG, 6-14 3pt FG), 11 rebounds and 3 assists for the Thunder, while Russell Westbrook secured his 22nd triple-double of the season (9th consecutive, tying Wilt Chamberlain for the longest such streak in National Basketball Association history) and 126th of his career with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

And it was all over when Westbrook weaved through the Rockets' defence to convert a layup in the fourth, giving the Thunder the lead for good at 113 to 112 with 26.9 seconds left on the clock. The Thunder posted a 53-39 edge on the glass.

James Harden led the Rockets with 42 points, reaching 30 points for the 29th straight game - two shy of Chamberlain for the second-longest streak in National Basketball Association history, but far behind Chamberlain's record run of 65 games. He's averaging 19.6 points, 14.1 assists, and 13.1 rebounds during this recent streak. Meanwhile, the Thunder defense only forced two turnovers in the first half.

The Thunder were up by three points at that point, so the intervention prevented the Rockets from getting up a potential game-tying three-point shot. They hit their first seven shots of the quarter and turned the heat up on the defensive end, outscoring the Rockets 42-20 in the third, with Dennis Schroder scoring the Thunder's final 11 points of the period to tie the game at 90-90 heading into the fourth. Less than three minutes into the final frame, the Thunder led 98-92, and the Rockets were left scrambling. The Thunder trailed by as many as 26 points.

When Paul capped that rally with a midrange jumper, the Rockets led 36-25, and Oklahoma City struggled to build momentum against its lackadaisical ball security and the Rockets' perimeter shooting. Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 12 rebounds.

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