The Thunder jumped out the 13-2 lead to start the game, it took the Rockets nearly the entire first half to finally get back to even with the Thunder, but then the Thunder ended the half on a 14-1 run to take a 60-47 lead at the half
OKC continued to put the beat down on the Rockets, going on a 14-5 run early in the third to give OKC a 20 point lead, and from there point the Rockets never got it any closer
For the Rockets only 3 players scored in double figures, Harden, Patrick Beverley with 11, and Carlos Defino with 10. As a team, Houston was 15 short of their scoring average on the year, while 10% behind their regular season FG%.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
As long as the Thunder came away with a W, I was happy. Outside of that, not letting Harden go on another 46 point night was my only concern going into the night. As with the Thunder's 2 wins against the Rockets in the regular season, OKC essential took Jeremy Lin out of the game, and frustrated Harden into another poor shooting night.
With being the higher seed, the important thing is to simply win your first two games and move on. Doesn't matter by how much, or in what fashion, but winning your 2 games at home and going 2-0 will put the series comfortably in
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
While James Harden had 20 points on the night, it came from 6-19 shooting. The Beard didn't get any help from his starting unit either, who shot 11-31 on the night. OKC was able to take Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons out of the game. The two combined for 9 points on 3-12 shooting in the first half. To put it in perspective, The Rockets first field goal came with 5:46 left in the first.
The Thunder were able to stop the Rockets by protecting the rim. We've seen teams attack the rim against OKC by putting Perkins' man out on the perimeter, eliminating his help defense. For the Rockets, Perkins' covered Omer Asik, who really doesn't post much of a threat away from the rim, allowing Ibaka and Perkins to stay with their help defense.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
Oklahoma City shot 53% on night, while holding the Rockets to only 36.3%. The Thunder didn't even start particularly well, shooting 36% after 1, but were still able to hold the Rockets to 21% in the first. The Rockets attempted 12 more three-pointers on the night, but still wound up making 2 less than the Thunder.
No one for the Rockets shot the ball well tonight. The Rockets 4 leading scores besides Harden went 16-40. Providing no help to the beard of giving the Thunder any reason to adjust their defense to defend against the supporting case. For OKC however, there role players shot the ball extremely well tonight. 3-5 from Thabo, 4-4 from Collison, 7-11 from Ibaka. Which allowed OKC to get a comfortable win despite their 2 leading scorers scoring below their season average.
What does this game tell us about what to expect for game 2?
Although tonight was a blow out, it still only counts as game 1 in the series. The Thunder will move forward to Wednesday to face the Rockets who are going to try to make some adjusted to try to steal a game on the Thunder's home floor, while OKC has to be careful to not ease up on them following tonight's game.
The Rockets shot well below their season average from behind the line, something that will likely change in the coming games. For Houston, they need to make some changes to make Harden's support cast most efficient, which will in turn make Harden a more efficient player on the floor.
|Final - 4.21.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||26||34||29||31||120|
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists.
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook, 19 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds
Thunder Blunder: None
Thunder Plunderer: James Harden, 20 points, 6 rebounds.
Next game: Game 2 vs Houston Rockets, on Wed. April 24 @ 6:00 pm Central (OKC lead 1-0)
If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.