The Oklahoma City Thunder needed 29 from both Durant and Westbrook to pull away from the Houston Rockets 105-102 and go up 2-0 in the series.
Game 2 was a back and forth first half which saw both teams point guards get banged up. Jeremy Lin attempted to come back for the start of the second half but was taken to the locker room with a reported chest contusion right by the start of the second half and did not return. Westbrook then seemed to favor his knee for the rest of the game. As with game one, Oklahoma City eventually started pulling away in the third.
Despite Lin's absence, the Rockets offense found their rhythm late and went on a 21-2 run to go up 95-91 midway in the fourth. A big factor was how the Rockets employing a zone defense, which resulted in 9 straight possessions without any points. However the Thunder eventually got their offense back into shape and Durant and Sefolosha hit 2 big 3-pointers to seal the victory.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Unlike Sunday night, tonight's game came down to the wire. In part the shift was due to adjustments Kevin McHale made from game one, which allowed Parsons and Bevelery to contribute to the offense tonight. However, the Rockets still shot below their average from the 3 point line.
Tonight was also the first time we saw what kind of minutes Scott Brooks would allocate for a full game and I gotta admit I'm pretty happy with it. A majority of the back up point guard minutes going to Reggie Jackson, rather than Derek Fisher. Brooks seems pretty content with playing essentially 8 men in the playoffs, with Fisher getting a few minutes somewhere along the way.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
Russell Westbrook continued his domination of the Rockets point guards tonight. Holding Lin to only 7 points in the first half, Westbrook scored 29 on the night himself. The Rockets defense was simply unable to slow down the aggressive PG.
Meanwhile, the Rockets have been incredibly inefficient scoring the ball. Going 10-35 from behind the arc. Harden was only 9-24 tonight, getting most of his points from the line. Besides Harden, the Rockets only shot 5 free throws. That said, Harden's 20 free throw attempts played a big role in getting Houston back in the game.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
One of the main reasons why tonight was so much closer than Sunday night was due to the Rockets being able to out rebound the Thunder by 19 boards. The Rockets second chances and stopping the Thunder from taking over the game enabled Houston to hang around until they had the opportunity to strike. However, the Rockets didn't do much with their second chances. The two leading scorers for the Rockets, Harden and Parsons, combined a dismal 16 for 47 on the night .
What does this game tell us about what to expect for Game 3?
We head to Houston now in what is a must win for the Rockets. In fact, Houston needed to steal one from the Thunder on their home floor if they had any shot of winning tonight.
The Rockets were able to shoot the the ball slightly better tonight and made some excellent adjustments and nearly walked away with the victory tonight. They still haven't gotten their 3 point shot down. Game 3 is do or die for the Rockets, and their last chance to turn this into a series.
|Final - 4.24.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||29||28||21||27||105|
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook 29 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 12 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks.
Thunder Blunder: Derek Fisher, 0 points
Thunder Plunderer: James Harden, 36 points, 11 rebounds
Next game: Game 3 @ Houston Rockets on Saturday, April 27 @ 8:30 pm
If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.