Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Rockets overcome Westbrook's 51, take 2-0 lead over Thunder

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Kristopher Love | 20 April, 2017, 06:46

Kanter did play 16 minutes and was a -10, which is actually decent compared to the -22 Steven Adams posted in 28 minutes.

Russell Westbrook set many a record this regular season as he became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double for an entire season.

It was a disheartening first half of basketball for Houston, but the game eventually evolved into a microcosm of both the individual seasons for both teams and the MVP race, as the Rockets rebounded in the second half to take down the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111 to lead their first-round playoff series 2-0.

As per usual, there's no way the Thunder would have even been in the game without Westbrook's effort, but on this night, it just wasn't enough for OKC. He ranks behind only LeBron James and Rajon Rondo for career playoff triple-doubles among active players and passed John Havlicek for eighth all-time. Overall, he went just 4-for-18 from the field in the fourth, which was the most misses in a single quarter in two decades of playoff hoops. But after a sizzling three quarters, he went just 4-for-18 in the fourth quarter as the Rockets rallied behind 11 fourth-quarter points from Eric Gordon.

Andre Roberson scored 12, Victor Oladipo had 11 points, while Doug McDermott came off the bench to also deliver 11 markers for Okalhoma City. The end result was a 31-point Rockets victory. The Thunder suffered a similar loss in the first game of last year's second round series against San Antonio, but squeaked out a win in the next game before going on to win the series in six.

The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but Houston had cut the lead to 68-62 at halftime.

35 points from James Harden has helped the Houston Rockets overcame a mammoth 51 point triple-double from Russell Westbrook as the Rockets toppled the Oklahoma City Thunder this afternoon.

The fourth quarter was the flip-side of that coin. It could be argued also that his teammates aren't good enough to trust with big-shot opportunities. Without Westbrook to quarterback the offense, the Thunder had bad possessions while Houston answered with a 9-0 run.

The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and Game 1 star Beverley chipping in 15.

The Rockets now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 Friday night in Oklahoma City.

The series now shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Saturday.