Tucker had 17 points and nine rebounds on Monday, and he regularly assumed the challenge of defending both big and small opponents in the match which saw Westbrook come face to face with his former team for the first time since being traded to Houston, and vice-versa for Chris Paul, Sky Sports News reported.
Tucker’s corner three-pointer with 54.8 seconds left provided the Rockets the six-point cushion they needed to survive late treys from Danilo Gallinari, Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Harden then sealed the victory via his precision at the free-throw line, going 6-for-6 in the last two minutes.
Westbrook finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists while Harden added seven assists. The Beard also made 21 of 22 foul shots. Tucker was 5-for-7 on three-point attempts. Clint Capela contributed 15 points for Houston.
Dennis Schroder and Gilgeous-Alexander scored 22 apiece for the Thunder while Gallinari added 17. Paul posted 15 points on his return to Houston, and Nerlens Noel also scored 15.
Houston erased a 10-point halftime deficit by picking up the pace in the third quarter, frequently attacking early in the shot clock to favorable results. A 12-0 run gave the Rockets a 69-66 lead, with that rally capped by a Harden to Westbrook baseline alley-oop. The Rockets shot 5 of 9 from three-point range in the period, and the Thunder struggled to maintain the tempo.
By outscoring Oklahoma City 39-18 in the third, the Rockets took a 91-80 edge into the fourth.
The Thunder flashed ample energy early even though they were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, racing to a 15-point lead by converting both in transition.
The Rockets were sluggish defensively, and it wasn't until the second quarter that they found some juice. Still, despite the inroads made by Harden and Capela offensively, the Rockets had no answer for Schroder on defense, as Schroder posted 18 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Houston shot just 4 of 25 on three-point attempts prior to the break and trailed 62-52 at halftime. However, the Rockets did race to 10 fastbreak points, setting a tone for their aggression in the third period.
OCK returns home to face the Portland Trail Blazers today, while a trip to Washington to face the Wizards is next up for Houston.
Warriors 134 Pelicans 123
Stephen Curry scored 26 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double as the visiting Golden State Warriors defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 134-123 to record their first win of the season.
The five-time defending Western Conference champion Warriors began the season with losses to the Clippers and Thunder by an average margin of 23.5 points, but they were sharp from the beginning against the Pelicans who are now 0-4 to begin the season.
Green had 16 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. D'Angelo Russell scored 24 points, Damion Lee added 23 off the bench, while Jordan Poole scored 13 and Glenn Robinson III had 12.
Brandon Ingram had 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead New Orleans in scoring for the fourth consecutive game. Jaxson Hayes added 19 points, Kenrich Williams had 16, Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 15, and Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball had 12 each.