The Houston Rockets didn’t secure their first lead until the fourth quarter, but some late-game defense and three point accuracy secured a win over OKC in game two.
There were times when it looked like the Houston Rockets would not win game two. They were sluggish out of the gates and shot the ball poorly in the first quarter, letting the OKC Thunder jump out to a 15-point lead. Throughout the second and third quarters, Houston would rally back to within five or so on multiple occasions, only to watch Russell Westbrook push the lead back to double-digits.
However, despite posting the highest scoring triple-double in playoff history (51 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds) Westbrook went cold in the fourth quarter. He missed 14 of his 18 shot attempts in the final frame, and opted to not get his teammates as involved. The Brodie essentially shot his team out of the game.
While OKC started missing shots, the Rockets finally started hitting from outside in the fourth. They shot 6/20 from three in the first three quarters, but finished the game hitting five of their last nine. The end result was a Houston win, giving them a commanding 2-0 lead as they head to Oklahoma City.
As usual, James Harden was the best player in a red uniform. He finished with a solid 35 points to go with eight assists. After Patrick Beverley stepped up in game one, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams did in game two. E.G. finished with 22 points on 50% shooting from three while Lou scored 21 and was a team-best +18 on the night.
One negative from the game is that Ryan Anderson has yet to make a three pointer this series. After scoring four points on 1/6 shooting in game one, he matched that output in game two on 1/8 shooting.
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He’s 0/11 from beyond the arc over the past few games, something that will have to change if the Rockets are to be successful against better teams. Trevor Ariza also hasn’t hit a long bomb in the playoffs, but he’s only attempted two.
Now up 2-0, the Rockets will have just one day of rest before suiting up in OKC for game three. The Thunder made good adjustments in between the first two contests, but their poor shooting down the stretch cost them.
If the Thunder can gameplan for the rest of the series as well as they have so far and make their shots like they did for three quarters on Wednesday, they may be able to steal a game or two from Houston.
Game three will be OKC’s do-or-die opportunity, so tune in to TNT on Friday night at 8:30 CT.