Harden and Beverley propel Rockets to big win over OKC
There's worse news, too.
Possibly most encouraging for the Rockets was they can absolutely play better.
Harden and Westbrook are considered the frontrunners in the league MVP race. I really don't know what the criteria is considered for all-defense.
The Thunder came into the night the superior rebounding team, but they grabbed just 42 percent of available rebounds.
Many people believe this series between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder is going to be a close one. It was a surprising way for the Rockets, who led the National Basketball Association in 3-point shooting this season, to win a playoff opener.
Westbrook and Harden are also two of the leading MVP candidates this season. The Rockets totaled 31 second-chance points in the process.
"If they change it, we've got to counter what they do".
Houston's offense ticks along because of James Harden's brilliance, surrounded by prolific three-point shooters. Atlanta is now 1-4 against the Wizards this season, and no Hawks team has ever overcome a 2-0 series deficit (0 for 24). These combined efforts allowed the team to control the paint on the offensive end, putting Oklahoma City on their heels and paving the way for attractive layups and explosive dunks.
"I told the guys coming out it was going to be physical and we wanted to throw the first punch", he said. Dwight Howard had 14 rebounds but just seven points.
Defending the Rockets' lethal outside shooting always requires a choice like that.
Houston scored the next nine points, capped by consecutive three-pointers by Beverley to make it 73-64 midway through the period. Westbrook must be more efficient and take better shots in game two.
Joining him in this elite company is Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, who carried a Thunder team on his back to the postseason this year. But Green tipped in a Curry miss and Durant produced three straight baskets to stretch Golden State's lead to 113-99 with 3:36 remaining. However, in Game 1, Roberson hit four of his six attempts from beyond the arc, as James Harden and the Rockets were happy to see him take those shots. The Rockets have become a dominant team because of him and the plays he creates for his team. What advice would you give Thunder coach Billy Donovan? "If you read the game right, you have to pick one or the other". "We haven't done that all season, but this is the right time to do it".
Against a side like Houston who put up so many threes, rebounding could prove to be pivotal in the contest and so the Thunder having that advantage is a big one. Game 1 of this duel between the two former teammates went decidedly to Harden. Beverley concluded the third quarter with a playoff career-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, which included eight rebounds and 4 of 6 from beyond the 3-point line. Even Westbrook needs help, and Oladipo has to be much better in Game 2. Victor Oladipo made 1-of-12 shots in his playoff debut.
Westbrook scored 22 points in today's loss and only made 6 of 23 shots with nine turnovers for the Thunder.
Beverley got up, shook off the hit and kept playing.
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