Guymon Daily Herald
Gordon, Eason help Rockets defeat Thunder 112-106
HOUSTON — Eric Gordon had a seasonhigh 25 points and rookie Tari Eason added career-high 20 to lead the Houston Rockets to a 112-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
The Rockets (13-38), who have the worst record in the Western Conference, have won three of their last five games after dropping 18 of the previous 19.
Eason, the 17th overall pick in the 2022 draft, also had 13 rebounds off the bench, matching a career best on a night Jalen Green sat out with an injury.
Coach Stephen Silas credited Gordon for keeping this young team focused when the game was close down the stretch.
“Eric tonight was so steady and when we went down five or six he was the one settling the guys down, and that’s important,” Silas said. “That veteran presence … was huge tonight.”
Gordon, who is in his 15th NBA season, takes pride in helping his inexperienced teammates.
“My mentality is all about winning,” he said. “And for me it’s all about just giving these young guys confidence.”
Houston was up by five after consecutive baskets by Josh Christopher before the Thunder got a free throw from Darius Bazley and a jump shot from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to get within 100-98 with about four minutes left.
But the Rockets scored the next five points, with a 3 from Kenyon Martin Jr., to push the lead to seven about a minute later. Gordon missed two free throws after that, and Gilgeous-Alexander made two for Oklahoma City, cutting the lead to 105-100.
But Daishen Nix made a layup before Martin had a two-handed dunk seconds later to extend Houston’s lead to 109100 with less than a minute to go.
Gilgeous-Alexander had 24 points to lead the Thunder and Josh Giddey scored 20 with eight
rebounds and eight assists.
“The best thing Houston did tonight was the way they were ready to play from the jump.” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said.
Silas was impressed with his team’s defense on Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered the game ranked fifth in the NBA by averaging 30.9 points.
“It was a team effort,” Silas said.
Tre Mann opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to extend Oklahoma City’s lead to five points. But Houston got consecutive 3s from Garrison Mathews and Eason after that to go on top 90-89.
Eason got a steal a couple of minutes later and drove in for a layup, but missed.