Houston Rockets: Takeaways From Game One Victory Over Thunder

By halftime he'd missed four more from beyond the arc.

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley was absolutely rocked Sunday night when Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams flattened him on a screen, eight minutes into the third quarter during Game 1 of Rockets-Thunder in the NBA Playoffs.

"As a point guard I have to try to find ways to split the defense".

NEED TO KNOW: Round 1 of the James Harden-Russell Westbrook matchup was no contest. The Rockets' offense has been fueled by Harden's brilliance at that particular skill all season long. Probably. However, Harden's presence in the paint made things hard for Russell Westbrook, which led to a 6-for-23 shooting night and nine turnovers for Westbrook.

In a odd twist of regular season fates, the Thunder struggled on the rebounding front, ceding an outrageous 31-4 advantage in second chance points to their higher-seeded rivals.

Andre Roberson shot 24.6 percent on three-pointers during the regular season.

What the Thunder did have though was a much better defensive presence, especially in the paint where Ersan Ilyasova and Steve Adams, along with Westbrook have helped them become the best rebounding side in the National Basketball Association.

The bad news for Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Portland is obvious: They're down 1-0 and on the road. Sunday, they were outrebounded 56-41.

Meanwhile, the Rockets were eighth in the league in rebounding, but just league average getting defensive rebounds. "Sometimes, I think playing big against them is good".

The Rockets scored the first five points of the second half to push their lead to 10 points early in the third quarter. Westbrook will take the Thunder close, but ultimately the Rockets have more depth and will win an entertaining, high-scoring affair.

With under 10 seconds left in the game, the Thunder found themselves with the ball down two. Their relationship goes back way before their Oklahoma City days, when they were teammates from 2009 to '12. I would counter by asking you what the chances are that Roberson turns in to a good shooter in the playoffs?

Then Game 1 happened.

Dwyane Wade once told me in an interview that the best thing a defender can do is take you out of your game.

Harden has been reading the game right all season.

Westbrook ended a scoring drought of nearly 3 1/2 minutes for the Thunder with a layup, but Houston used an 8-2 spurt - highlighted by a 3 from Eric Gordon - to push the lead to 81-68 with just more than three minutes remaining in the third.

With that being said, here are some key takeaways from Game 1. Houston set an National Basketball Association record with 1,181 3-point baskets - an average of 14.4 per game - with Harden (262), backup shooting guard Eric Gordon (246) and forward Ryan Anderson (205) all over 200 and forward Trevor Ariza (190) not far off the pace.

Westbrook, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists but shot just six-for-23 from the field and had nine turnovers, was bothered by tough defense from the pesky Patrick Beverley throughout. It compounds his tendency to play erratically in big games. Now imagine that everyone cares more about your former teammate setting a triple double record while winning fewer games.

PRESSURE IS ON: Thunder guard Victor Oladipo was 1 for 12 from the floor in his playoff debut, 0 for 9 outside the paint. Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds a game- all career bests - in helping Houston to a 55-27 record.


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