Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 42 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off a late Houston rally to beat the Rockets 106-98 on Tuesday night at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.
Durant hit five 3-pointers, and hit the clinching jumper late to seal the Thunder’s third win in three games this year against Houston.
OKC led by as many as 17 points, but Houston rallied to get within five points on several occasions.
The Thunder had an answer down the stretch, holding on to win and end a two-game losing streak.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and dished out 7 assists in his first game against Houston since injuring his right knee against the Rockets in last year’s playoffs.
It was a chippy game, with several scuffles, including one between Westbrook and Houston’s Patrick Beverley that was reminiscent of the incident in which Westbrook
injured his knee.
Westbrook dribbled close to the Thunder bench to call a timeout in the first half, and Beverley reached in to try steal the ball.
Westbrook reacted angrily and the two had to be separated.
There were other incidents involving several other players, including a technical foul on Durant, and a flagrant foul on Thunder center Steven Adams.
Serge Ibaka had a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds, while Caron Butler had 11 points, his most in a Thunder uniform.
Former Thunder star James Harden led Houston with 28 points, and added 8 rebounds and 9 assists.
The Thunder improved to 47-17 on the season, and will continue their three-game homestand on Thursday night when they host the L.A. Lakers at 8:30.