The Phoenix Suns have been real pests against Oklahoma City the last couple of seasons, beating the Thunder three straight times.
Russell Westbrook made sure it didn’t happen again.
“You know he’s going to bring it every night and that’s something our team should look at,” Booker said, “look for his passion for the game, how he cares about it and how he brings it every night, all 82 to 100 games, however many they play. He brings that energy. So I think us as a team know that and we try to go out and match that.”
Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren scored 19 apiece for the Suns, who broke their 10-game losing streak at Memphis on Wednesday night. Elfrid Payton had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Booker’s baseline 12-footer at the shot-clock buzzer put Phoenix up 115-114 with 2:37 to play and Alex Len hit one of two free throws to make it 116-114 with 1:40 to go.
Westbrook tied it on a driving layup with 1:32 left and made just his second 3 of the night to put the Thunder ahead for good, 119-116. He added two free throws and a breakaway dunk after that in his second-highest scoring game of the season.
“We executed well, took good shots and obviously Russell took over,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “He was terrific.”
Currently riding a 14-game winning streak, their second of this season, the Rockets are relatively whole. Reserves Ryan Anderson (hip) and Brandan Wright (knee) will be unavailable against Boston, but Houston for the most part is healthy and playing with supreme confidence.
“Competition. When you’re competitive it doesn’t matter,” Paul said of what is continuing to push the Rockets. “You don’t need somebody else to get you going. We’ve got a lot of competitive people over here, whether it’s shooting games, whether it’s tic tac toe … we’ve got a competitive group. Who cares who we’re playing or what’s happening? We want to win.”
The Rockets would be wise to maintain that approach, for after the rematch Best Place To Get Cheap Jerseys with Boston, they face games at Oklahoma City and Toronto next week, against Cheap Authentic NHL Jerseys whom Houston is 0-2. The Rockets’ recent road trip featured three victories but also ragged, inconsistent performances.