Rockets overcome Westbrook's 51, take 2-0 lead over Thunder
22 April, 2017, 02:01 | Author: Iris Sanchez
Series: Rockets lead 1-0.
Russell Westbrook poured in the most potent post-season performance of his career, and the first ever 50-point triple double in National Basketball Association playoff history, but it couldn't stop the Oklahoma City Thunder slipping into an 0-2 hole in their first-round series against the Houston Rockets. Westbrook, on the other hand, shot a whopping 43 times from the floor on Wednesday. He shot 17-43 in the game, good for 39 percent but only made three field goals in the fourth quarter on 17 attempts. Andre Roberson scored 12 points and McDermott concluded with 11.
"It was huge for us", Harden said of the third-quarter run. It's either OKC wins this game or gets swept, so I'll lay my bucket.
Westbrook came back to start the fourth quarter and turned in a superhuman performance, netting 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to carry his hapless teammates to a victory.
ERIC GORDON, who scored 22 points, on the inspiration he and fellow Houston reserve guard gave to the team. It was at this moment when Billy Donovan, Westbrook, and everybody else had to redirect their game plan to accomplish one thing - to knock out one or both of those guys by drawing their 6th foul. Harden was rested at the end, Westbrook was exhausted and pulling up for shots (so the Rockets switched the longer Trevor Ariza on him to contest looks).
Westbrook wouldn't concede he was exhausted.
Houston Rockets Lineups: PG James Harden, SG Patrick Beverley, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Ryan Anderson, C Clint Capela. "That got everybody riled up, no doubt". To put it bluntly, this is bad for the Thunder. After he was caught on camera during Game 1 telling his assistant coach Mo Cheeks, "Can't play Kanter", he made an adjustment: Enes was only allowed on the floor when James Harden Saturday. "Everybody always wants to come out and play great". The spacing just wasn't there.
Russ took more shots than the rest of the Thunder combined in the second half (28-22), and that resulted in 28 percent shooting as a team after they hit on 55 percent in the first half.
"It didn't surprise me", D'Antoni said. "He was needed at certain times in the game".
The fourth quarter was the flip-side of that coin.
The numbers produced by the two superstars in that fourth quarter were so telling.
It left Westbrook with a gaudy box score, but he and his teammates without the win. His shot was off for most of the night, but Harden didn't force the action and only took 17 shots.
There are times when Harden realizes he can't do it alone. At the end of the day, you just go out there and play. The silky jumper and surprising assists that propelled his MVP case all season turned back into ugly heaves and ill-advised pull-ups, none of which could be blamed on his subpar surrounding cast. And now, with a 2-0 lead heading into the weekend in Oklahoma City, the Rockets have control of this series. He followed up game 1 with a 12-8 to go with 2 steals and 3 blocks, plus another masterful defensive display on how to slow down an elite offensive player in Harden. We didn't make a lot of shots, and we gave them an early lead, and then we had to fight our way back, and we did.
"We can't give away leads like that on the road, man", Westbrook said. "Tonight was a flawless case".
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