Reggie Jackson got his first NBA start after the team learned that Russell Westbrook would be out for the remained of the post-season after undergoing knee surgery earlier today.
Kevin Durant took over the Thunder offense, taking 30 shots on the night. He began early tonight, outscoring the Rockets scoring 17 in the first and put the Thunder up 39-19 after the first. Durant went on to score 27 points in the first half as the Thunder led 66-49 at the break.
The Rockets made a run in third, behind Harden's 30 and Parson's 21, to bring the lead down to 4, trailing 80-76 entering the final quarter.
Houston eventually got the lead with under a minute left before Kevin Durant answered right back with a 3-pt shot with 45 seconds left. After a James Harden turnover, Reggie Jackson hit 2 free throws, and the Rockets missed a game tying 3 to put OKC on the verge of winning the series.
The Thunder were also led by 17 from Serge Ibaka, and Reggie Jackson with 14.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The Thunder have been on a wave of up and downs over the past few days, especially after learning Westbrook would be gone for the rest of the season. It seemed to motivate the Thunder as they came out scoring 39 points in the opening quarter, more than they would score in the entire second half.
Derek Fisher took a bigger role in the offense tonight, going from around 5 minutes per game this postseason to playing 25 minutes, while DeAndre Liggins played 6 minutes.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
The Rockets' shooting woes continued tonight, at least until they were able to straighten things in the 3rd. After a poor first half, Houston had done a great job of coming back and get the game within striking distance. However, they lost this very winnable game by going for the kill shot too many times late in the game. After pulling to within a single possession on numerous occasions, Houston rushed and missed 3-point attempts instead of working for better shots. Ultimately, it simply took them too long to take the lead and by the time they did the Thunder were able to just come back and take the lead back on Kevin Durant's miracle bounce.
What does this game tell us about what to expect for game 4?
The Thunder can wrap up this series on Monday at Houston, as OKC will continue to adjust to its' post-Westbrook line-up. Kevin Durant will likely take just as large of a role in this game (40 of the Thunder's 87). The Rocket's have been unable to have a consistent game, and Jeremy Lin has pretty much been non-active this entire night.
1 more!!!!!!!!!! #thunderup— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) April 28, 2013
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 41 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists.
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 17 points, 11 rebounds.
Thunder Blunder: Thabo Sefolosha, 3 points 1-7 FG
Thunder Plunderer: James Harden, 30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists.
Next game: Game 4 @ Houston Rockets, on Monday April 29 @ 8:30 pm CT (OKC leads 3-0)
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