The Houston Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in game 5, 105-99. The Rockets have defeated OKC in the 1st round, 4 games to 1, and now advance to the conference semi-finals, where they await the outcome of the Spurs-Grizzlies series. We’ll keep this short and sweet.
In the final 4 games of this hotly contested series, games were decided by 2 possessions or less. With such a razor-thin margin for error, OKC was never able to capitalize on its advantages, instead falling short while its disadvantages were on display. In a head-to-head battle between MVP candidates, perhaps the ultimate winner is LeBron James, as Russell Westbrook and James Harden fought a war of attrition, not out of superstar power, but out of grim resolve to do whatever they could to give their team the upper hand. Neither player leaves the series unscathed to their MVP reputation, but only Harden earns the right to be considered the victor.
In the end, it was not the superstars, but the supporting cast (though Russ is loathe to admit it) that decided the outcome. The Rockets had more able hands on deck, and that was enough to eek out a win in the final 3 of 4 games.
There will be much to be digested and broken down from this series and this season for the Thunder. But for now, it is done. And while it is not the best of things, it is not the worst, either. Tonight though, we sleep in disappointment.