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              === Durant, Thunder open second half in Houston ===
 
 (Sports  Network) -  The Oklahoma City Thunder's  march to the top seed in the
 Western  Conference will  commence Wednesday night when they visit the Houston
 Rockets.
 
 The  Thunder  own the second-best record  in the NBA, trailing the San Antonio
 Spurs  by 2 1/2 games in the West. OKC is 6 1/2 ahead of the Denver Nuggets in
 the Northwest Division, but those aren't the goals of the Thunder.
 
 After  falling  to  the  Miami  Heat  last season  in  the  NBA  Finals,  it's
 championship or bust for Thunder.
 
 "I'm  looking forward to  the second half, hoping it's a good one," said Kevin
 Durant, who scored 30 points in Sunday's All-Star Game.
 
 Durant is enjoying an MVP-type season once again. The three-time scoring champ
 leads  the NBA with  29.2 ppg and Russell Westbrook again joined Durant on the
 Western Conference All-Star team.
 
 The Thunder struggled a bit heading into the break. They dropped two in a row,
 including  a road loss in Utah to the Jazz and a disappointing home setback to
 the Heat on Thursday, 110-100.
 
 "They jumped on us early and we were playing uphill the rest of the way," said
 Thunder  coach Scott Brooks.  "We kept fighting but it was just too late. They
 doubled  every screen and  made us take bad shots. We're not as bad as what we
 played tonight, but I was anticipating a much better game."
 
 The  Rockets didn't really receive much of an All-Star break, well the city of
 Houston  didn't.  As  host  for  the 62nd  All-Star  Game,  the  Rockets  were
 everywhere, including James Harden.
 
 The  first-time All Star was the Rockets' lone representative in the game, but
 Chandler Parsons took part in the Rising Stars Challenge and Jeremy Lin was in
 the Skills Challenge.
 
 "It  was a  very special  weekend,  it being  in Houston,"  Harden said  after
 Sunday's  game.  "All the fun times,  laughs, NBA Cares events, Saturday night
 festivities,  all the  appearances, meeting different people and then just the
 game tonight summed it up."
 
 The  Rockets lost two of three leading into the All-Star Game and both came on
 the road. The fell to the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers, but snuck
 in a good away win over the Golden State Warriors.
 
 Six of the next nine for the Rockets are away from the Toyota Center.
 
 The  Rockets  are somewhat comfortable  in the  eighth position in the Western
 Conference. They own a three-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers and sit
 3 1/2 ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.
 
 The  Thunder have  won both matchups this  season with Houston, one in OKC and
 one in Space City. Oklahoma City is 3-1 in its last four at Houston.
 
 
 02/20 10:43:01 ET