Thunder lose with duo out

Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dion Waiters (3) defends.
Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) dribbles the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dion Waiters (3) defends. PHOTO: REUTERS/ USA TODAY SPORTS

Detroit end Oklahoma City's 8-game run; Cavs miss James as Rockets blast them away

AUBURN HILLS (Michigan) • Marcus Morris scored 24 points and the Detroit Pistons snapped Oklahoma City's eight-game winning streak with an 88-82 National Basketball Association (NBA) league victory on Tuesday at The Palace.

The Thunder rested All-Star small forward Kevin Durant and power forward Serge Ibaka after defeating the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

Oklahoma City scored at least 110 points throughout the streak, but shot 37.8 per cent against Detroit without the two starters.

Tobias Harris had 17 points, and Andre Drummond supplied 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who won for the sixth time in seven games.

Detroit (40-35) moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference play-off race, a half-game ahead of the Indiana Pacers.

Russell Westbrook, who recorded his eighth triple-double of the month against the Raptors, shot 8-of-28 from the field while scoring 24 points against the Pistons. He added four rebounds and six assists. Enes Kanter finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for Oklahoma City (52-23).

The Thunder scored just nine third-quarter points - their lowest-scoring quarter of the season - as Detroit grabbed a double-digit lead.

The Pistons failed to score for the first 3min 51sec of the fourth, allowing the Thunder to pull within eight. A Kanter three-pointer made it a one-point game, but Oklahoma City could not finish off the comeback. Reggie Jackson's dunk with 1:29 left extended Detroit's lead to 82-77.

Jackson (13 points) sealed the victory with four free throws.

"I keep looking at the stat sheet and shaking my head," said Oklahoma City's Randy Foye, who scored nine points.

"I know we didn't have Kev tonight, and he's obviously our MVP, but we have to win that game. We had terrible shot selection, and we kept turning over the ball. You can't shoot yourself in the foot all night and expect to beat an NBA team."

Meanwhile, there was also another upset in the NBA due to a star player being rested.

James Harden took full advantage of the absence of LeBron James, to lead the Houston Rockets to a come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Harden scored 27 points and eight assists, as Houston overturned second-half deficits of 20 and 13 points to clinch a 106-100 win.

"Even when we got down 20 points, we felt confident because they weren't shooting the ball well," he said.

Trevor Ariza put the seal on the fightback, with a three-pointer from the corner with 17 seconds left to complete the Rockets' triumph.

"In these situations, time and time again, we channel something special and unique when we get down," Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

"Desperation has to be the feeling, not panic when we get down - and that's who we've been."

At one point in the fourth quarter the Cavs, who had opted to rest James as they prepare for the post-season, missed eight straight attempts.

Kyrie Irving finished with 31 points and eight assists, while Kevin Love contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'THUNDER LOSE WITH DUO OUT'. Print Edition | Subscribe