The Thunder improved to an NBA-best 22-6 on Tuesday in OKC, topping Utah for the second time in four days, 111-85. Super sub James Harden scored 22 points and dished out five assists off the bench in that one to lead the Thunder.
Kevin Durant had 21 points and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook added 16, while Serge Ibaka notched a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which won its seventh straight at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"We wanted to play a little harder," Durant told the Thunder's website. "I think that was what we did. We kind of focused on that, and guys are playing hard and playing together. That's the ingredients for us to get a win."
Oklahoma City shot 54.5 percent from the field, while holding Utah to just 35.6 percent.
"We're at our best when we're playing defense and making them take tough shots," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, who will coach the Western Conference All-Stars later this month.
The Thunder, who will return to the Sooner State to kick off a five-game homestand after tonight's contest, have also been solid on the road, compiling a 12-5 mark including another win over the Jazz last Friday.
Houston, which is opening up a six-game homestand tonight, just completed a six-game road trip with a 3-3 mark but dropped the final two games on the trek, including a 93-83 setback in Memphis on Tuesday.
"They played harder than we did tonight," Houston head coach Kevin McHale said. "It took us a long time to get engaged in the type of game it was, which was going to be a grind-it-out one, as you could see (from) the first quarter. You can't ease into a game like that."
The Rockets, who will also host Minnesota, Utah, Memphis, Philadelphia and Toronto on its residency, are a solid 10-3 in Space City this season.
OKC has won four straight and six of seven overall vs. Houston.