Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 24 points, while Russell Westbrook just missed a triple-double with 19 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Serge Ibaka added 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting as Oklahoma City shot a scorching 53 percent from the field.
James Harden came out a bit tentative against his former team and struggled with his shooting all night, finishing with 20 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Jeremy Lin had a rough go of it, scoring four points on 1-of-7 shooting. The Rockets shot 36.3 percent overall and went just 8-of-36 from 3-point land. Other than Harden, only Patrick Beverley and Carlos Delfino reached double figures in scoring.
The Thunder got off to a quick start, pushing the pace and bolting to a 13-2 lead on the strength of six fast break points. The Rockets looked a bit shell-shocked, with their high powered offensive attack not making a single field goal through the first seven-plus minutes. Houston started 0-of-9 from the field before a Harden layup with 5:46 remaining in the first quarter.
While the Rockets were busy bricking jumpers en route to a 25-percent shooting mark in the quarter, the Thunder got stuck in an offensive rut as well after the fast start. Oklahoma City made just four field goals over the final 7:11 of the first, and a little Houston spurt led by Harden to close the quarter trimmed a 13-point lead to seven.
The Rockets continued their surge in the second quarter, catching the Thunder at 38 with 6:11 left in the half on a Beverley three. The game remained tight over the next couple of minutes, but Oklahoma City closed the half on a 14-3 run to take a 60-47 lead into the break. Each member of the Thunder starting lineup scored during the spurt.
Oklahoma City picked up where they left off in the third quarter, hitting five of their first six shots of the half. The hot shooting continued throughout the quarter, with Ibaka showing off his range by nailing a tough fadeaway jumper and a corner three. Things were going so well for the Thunder that Kendrick Perkins even threw a lob on the fast break to Ibaka off a brilliant save by Westbrook.
Houston was able to match Oklahoma City's hot shooting at the outset of the half, but the Rockets fell into a shooting slump throughout the middle of the quarter. Houston missed nine straight shots at one point before an Omer Asik dunk ended the drought. The Rockets' offensive struggles coupled with the Thunder's brilliance on that end allowed Oklahoma City to take an 89-65 lead into the final frame. Westbrook capped off the quarter with a blinding fast coast-to-coast layup.
The highlights continued into the fourth quarter, with Durant opening the scoring with a gliding and-1. Derek Fisher sent the crowd into a frenzy with two straight 3-pointers as the lead ballooned to as many as 35 points.
Game 2 is in Oklahoma City on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on TNT.