The Houston Roundball Review is an online basketball publication
by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

Contact Kris Gardner for details pertaining to advertising on the website; the blogs; and / or the podcasts.

Rockets' poor second-half results in 123-110 loss to OKC

POSTED: February 25, 2024 -- 11:25 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets were outscored 68-46 in the second half in a 123-110 loss to the OKC Thunder Sunday night.

"A tale of two halves," Ime Udoka, Houston Rockets Head Coach said after the game.

The first quarter featured 6 ties and 13 lead changes; but, the Rockets won the first quarter 34-31. Houston made 8 of 15 three-pointers in the first quarter.

Jabari Smith Jr scored 12 points in the first quarter. Smith made all 4 of his field goal attempts in the first (3 for 3 on threes).

Houston (25-32) made 7 of its first 11 field goals in the second quarter to lead 56-40 with 5 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter. However, the Rockets finished the quarter missing 7 of 9 attempts; and, OKC outscored Houston 17-6 to close the half.

Houston led OKC 62-57 at halftime.

"We executed well, for the most part, the first half until the last few minutes," Coach Udoka said.

The third quarter began with a missed pullup jumper by Rockets guard Fred VanVleet and turnover by teammate Alperen Sengun. After OKC center Chet Holmgren sank a three-pointer to cut Houston's lead to 2 (62-60), Coach Udoka called timeout just 45 seconds into the third quarter.

"A poor turnover. A poor decision there. Had a cross match," Coach Udoka remarked to explain why he called the quick timeout. "We never want our big (Sengun) to dribble from the top of the key and try to go one-on-one and post up and basically back down from the top of the key."

After the timeout, the Rockets responded with an 13-6 run as Smith Jr sank 2 free throws, Dillon Brooks hit a 3; VanVleet scored a layup and Jalen Green scored two driving layups.

Houston led 73-64 with 7:52 on the game clock in the third quarter. However, the Rockets' offense bogged down the rest of the quarter. Houston missed 11 field goals and turned over the ball 5 times which helped OKC outscore Houston 23-10 and lead 87-83 at the end of the third quarter.

"The offense just got bogged down," Coach Udoka commented. "Guys started doing one-on-one. That's the message to the team: 'We're not going to do it by ourselves, one-on-one. We better do it as a team.' "

OKC (40-17) outscored Houston 30-21 in the third quarter. Houston shot 28.0 fg% (7 for 25) in the third. OKC guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 12 of OKC's 30 points.

OKC blitzed the Rockets with a 15-2 run in the first 2:27 of the 4th period. Holmgren scored 9 points during the run. Holmgren had 2 dunks, a layup, and a three-pointer in the run.

After a Houston timeout and three-point basket by VanVleet, Holmgren swished a three-pointer.

Houston outscored OKC 10-2 the next 2 minutes to pull within 8 (106-98); but, Holmgren made 2 free throws; Gilgeous-Alexander added 1 free throw and a three-pointer and Jalen Williams swished a three for a 9-0 OKC run and a 115-98 OKC lead with 3:37 remaining in the ball game. Houston missed 6 shots during OKC's run.

"We played extremely well in the first half," VanVleet said in the locker room after the game. "Couldn't duplicate it in the third (quarter) there but still was a four point game going into the fourth.

"They made a couple runs that kind of game themselves some cushion," VanVleet added.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a game-high 36 points along with a game-high tying 7 assists.

With the win tonight, the Thunder even the season series vs. the Rockets 1-1 with two games remaining, including at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.


Oklahoma City hit 17 3-pointers on 48.6% shooting. The Rockets are 0-16 when allowing 15+ three-point field goals made this season.

Jabari Smith Jr. finished the game with 20 points and 17 rebounds, marking his second straight game with at least 20 points and 15 boards. He did not have any 20/15 games prior in his career. Smith also hit 4 3-pointers tonight after having 3 3FGM vs. Phoenix on 2/23. He is the youngest player in NBA history (20 years, 288 days) to have recorded consecutive games with at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and 3 3FGM.

Chet Holmgren finished the game with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks while hitting 5 3-pointers. It is the ninth time a player has recorded those numbers in a single game (second by a rookie; Cade Cunningham on Jan. 25, 2022), including twice by a Rocket (James Harden on Feb. 23, 2015 and Tracy McGrady on Dec. 2, 2004). Over the past eight games, Holmgren is averaging 19.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 3.00 bpg while shooting 60.4% from the floor and 48.8% from 3-point range.


The Rockets' next game is Tuesday, February 27, on the road, against the OKC Thunder. Tip is set for 9 p.m. Central Time.

SUPPORT The Houston Roundball Review:

Purchase your Houston Rockets' gear at via this link;

Get ESPN+ via this link;

Save when you get the Disney bundle (ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu) with this link;

OR, contribute via PayPal or the Cash App.

CLICK HERE for The HRR's Rockets' write-ups.

Click here to Support The HRR

The HRR's YouTube Channel

Official Merchandise

Houston Roundball Review Merch

Shop at

HBCUs gear

Houston Cougars gear

Rice Owls gear

Texas A&M Aggies gear

Texas Longhorns gear

Texas Southern Tigers gear

Shop at

Houston Rockets gear

Shop at