With the Houston Rockets' addition of Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder acquiring both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George this offseason, the general consensus was the two teams would be amongst the elite of the Western Conference.

For the Rockets, things have gone just as planned. With its 118-97 win over the Indiana Pacers Wednesday, it has started the season 17-4 and went 12-1 in the month of November. As for the Thunder, the season is not going so well. With its 121-108 loss to the Orlando Magic Wednesday it has lost three in a row, five of its last six and now sits at 8-12 on the year.

Oklahoma City has not had a record that bad in its first 20 games since starting 7-13 in 2014. OKC has had tremendous problems with sharing the ball this year as it had a mere 17 assists on 38 made field goals on the night. Even worse, it had just three assists in the entirety of the second half when it was outscored 62-51. It is tied for 21st in the NBA in assists per game with 21.

"I don’t mind one-pass, shot," coach Billy Donovan told reporters after the game. "But the one thing you don’t wanna do is you don’t wanna take highly contested shots. You don’t wanna take a lot of shots in areas of the floor that are gonna be low-percentage shots."

Meanwhile the Rockets is playing its best basketball since February 2008. It went through the entire month of November with just one loss. That's the best month it has had as a team - it won 22-straight games with Yao Ming as the focal point of its offense.

"We're never satisfied, we have a long way to go," Harden told reporters after Wednesday's win. "There's going to be a lot of ups and downs, right now we're playing pretty well, and, you know, just continue to do what we've been doing."


Magic forward Aaron Gordon scored 40 points on 13-of-23 shooting with 15 rebounds, four assists and four steals in Orlando's win over the Thunder.

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 41 points on 17-of-24 shooting including a perfect 3 for 3 from 3-point range in Spurs' 104-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry scored 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting with six assists and five rebounds in the Raptors' 126-113 win over the Charlotte Hornets. He also went 8 of 11 from 3-point range.


Even with Ben Simmons' 31-point, 18-rebound night in the 76ers' 118-113 win over the Washington Wizards, the guard left something to be desired with his free-throw shooting. He went 15 of 29 from the line and single-handedly let the Wizards back into the game as Washington employed the hack-a-shack gameplan on Simmons.

Last season's No. 1 overall pick attempted 24 free throws in the fourth quarter — an NBA record for a single quarter — and the Wizards cut the lead all the way down from 14 to three as the rookie went 12 of 24 from the line. He was still awesome overall, but that's something he'll have to improve on moving forward.